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How To File A Trademark

Aug 17, 2007
Various companies, in striving to achieve higher market shares and widespread popularity, tend to ignore the importance of trademark registration. Getting a trademark registration, though not a legal mandate, is as crucial as thinking of a name itself. The overall brand management and associated marketing efforts could go down the drain if the trademark is not registered. The registration of a trademark with the concerned authorities makes you the unique owner of a particular name or design and hence reduces the possibilities of falsification or the duplication of the name.

Check Before You Invest
It is best to undertake a search before thinking or launching a brand name to affirm if somebody else has already registered the specific name. A preliminary search can be undertaken on the various websites offering such services free of cost. However, for an extensive search you should hire a professional. In other words you should hire a private firm involved in such researches or an attorney.

Registration Alternatives
The trademark can be registered either as a state or as federal trademark. The option to be selected depends on the area of operation. If the case product is restricted to one state, the state trademark would be fine. However, if the operations are spread across at least two states, a federal trademark is considered appropriate.

Additionally trademarks can be filed in three situations.

1. It can be based on the use.

2. It can be based on a bonafide intention to use.

3. It can be an application outside the country.

Registration Process
Depending on the alternative selected, you can download the respective applications online. The applications must be deposited along with the requisite registration fee and the information mentioned below.

1. The legal name of the applicant (often a corporate name.)

2. The state of incorporation (for a corporation) or the country of citizenship (for an individual.)

3. The exact form of the mark.

4. The user details

5. A description of goods or services with which the mark will be used.

6. The international classifications for the goods and services.

The applications are carefully scrutinized by the respective departments. A unique number indicating the acknowledgement is sent out to the applicant. You can use this number in future correspondence. After about 4 months of filling, the applications are reviewed and corrections or objections are outlined which must be catered to by the applicant within 6 months. In case the objections are still not clarified, the application can be abandoned. However, in spite of the applicant's clarifications, there are situations when the authorities are not satisfied and can reject the application. The applicant in such an eventuality can appeal to the Trademark Trial or Appeal Board.

Additional Help
You can register a trademark all by yourself. However considering the implicit legal proceedings and requirements, it is suggested to opt for professional help. There are firms or agents who deal with such related activities and have knowledge of the procedures and anticipated issues.
About the Author
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc. His company publishes a free weekly e-newsletter on Small Business Consulting at their web site http://www.smallbusinessconsulting.com.
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