question.jpgIn Trademarks

How can I get a trademark?

The right question to ask is not how you can get a trademark, but how you can get trademark rights. The answer is that as soon as you start using a mark in commerce, you obtain trademark rights under the common law (law that is created by the courts rather than by statue) of the state you are using the mark in. However, you can better protect your trademark by registering the mark with one or more state trademark agencies or, better yet, by registering your mark federally with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

There are four basic steps to getting and maintaining a federal trademark registration, and thereby obtaining all of the rights that come with a federal registration:

(1) You should figure out if the mark you want to use is something which is entitled to protection and registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office,

(2) You should then conduct a trademark search to see if someone else already owns rights in the mark you want, or rights in something confusingly similar to that mark.

(3) You should begin using the mark as soon as you can and file a trademark application with the PTO.

(4) Once the PTO places your trademark on one of its registers, you must “police” your mark, which means you must take certain steps to protect it. As long as you continue to use your mark and properly police it, you will maintain your trademark rights (assuming the necessary renewal documentation is filed when appropriate).