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If you’re considering launching a business, you need to think about trademarking your new company’s name. Obtaining a trademark is of particular importance when legally marketing your business’s services or products. The last thing you want is a lawsuit from a competitor or another company challenging your name. What’s involved with trademark registration? Do you need an attorney? And what does it cost? We’ll answer all these questions and more and tell you about LegalZoom’s popular online trademark registration services, which take the hassle off your hands.
What Is a Trademark?
Simply put, a trademark is a symbol, word, or words legally registered or well-established by use that represents a business or product. If you care about your company’s brand — and you should—- then registering your trademark is a must. The most well-known names that come to mind are Target, Starbucks and McDonald’s. But companies of all sizes should consider trademark registration as a vital step in creating their business.
Copyright vs Trademark vs Patent: What’s the Difference?
Watch this brief video if you’re wondering how copyrights, trademarks and patents differ.
How to Register a Trademark
There are several factors to consider and steps to take when registering a trademark.
Run a Trademark Search
After you’ve come up with a few ideas for your company’s name, it’s time to conduct a trademark search. You can search online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but, keep in mind, this tool only searches for federal marks officially filed with the USPTO. There may still be conflicts with potentially confusing marks already in use by businesses — even unregistered marks. These could seriously affect your ability to register or use your trademark.
Although it’s not required, having a trademark attorney analyze your search results and advise you on the strength of your mark can save you time and money in the long run, especially if you’re eager to get your business up and running. It can take up to a year to have a legal trademark in hand, so it’s important to apply for a strong trademark that has little chance of being denied.
File the Paperwork
You can find and submit initial application forms on the USPTO website. The trademark cost for filing is $275, which is non-refundable even if your application gets rejected. It can take six months to a year until they approve or deny your application, but you can check on the progress via their website.
Approved or Rejected?
If your application gets a green light, your trademark accelerates to the Intent-to-Use (ITU) stage. If denied, you can file an office action response within six months, which requests a reconsideration. The USPTO will publish your ITU-stage application in a weekly Official Gazette. If another company believes your mark might damage theirs, they must file an opposition within 30 days. If no one protests, you will have an official trademark (TM) within 12 weeks.
Use Your Mark Commercially
You’ll have six months to use your mark in commerce. Once you use your mark (i.e. you sell a product or service the mark with a proof of purchase), you must file a Statement of Use (SOU). If you need more time, you can file for a six-month extension (added fee).
How To Register a Trademark Online with LegalZoom
Many satisfied LegalZoom customers believe it’s certainly worth going the LegalZoom trademark registration route for the time and hassle it will save you — especially because the process is so lengthy and there are many potential legal pitfalls if you don’t do an extensive search. Unregistered trademark conflicts can get fuzzy down the road (i.e. lawsuits for similar or potentially confusing trademarks), so it’s important to make sure you have a clear path with your mark to avoid future legal actions. These lawsuits could cost you much more than your initial investment to conduct a thorough search and legally register your mark.
LegalZoom gives you an attorney-guided service throughout the process, from evaluating your trademark search to registering and following up with the long process of establishing a legal trademark (TM). If you’re like many people trying to launch a business, there are a ton of issues you need to address asap. With LegalZoom’s trademark registration process, you can check one major aspect off your to-do list. And you don’t have to pay expensive hourly attorney rates. With LegalZoom, it’s a one-time flat fee.
LegalZoom gives you two main options regarding their trademark services. All of their services include customer support, which offers generous phone hours seven days a week.
LegalZoom Comprehensive Trademark Search
With LegalZoom’s trademark search services, you fill out a brief questionnaire online. Then, LegalZoom conducts a comprehensive search for you and prepares a report of your results. These fees don’t include services toward registering a trademark.
- $199 Federal and State Search
- $299 Federal, State and Common Law Search
- $499 WorldScan International Search
LegalZoom Trademark Registration
$599 (price doesn’t include the federal filing fee)
- Trademark Comprehensive Search (federal, state and common law)
- Analysis of your trademark search results
- Preparation and filing of your application
- Monitoring of your application status
- Response to a basic Office action
What Else Does LegalZoom Offer?
LegalZoom provides a wide variety of online legal services for businesses and personal needs. Be sure to read our comprehensive LegalZoom review to learn more about what they offer. LegalZoom isn’t the only online source for legal services. If you’d like to see how LegalZoom stacks up against their competitors, check out our comparison article, which compares several top online legal services. LegalZoom is our number one choice, and they get excellent reviews from their customers.
Would you recommend using LegalZoom for trademark registration or other services?