A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies the source of goods or services. It can be a specific word, phrase, symbol or design used in commerce by an individual, business concern or other organization to identify that the goods and/or services are those of such individual, business concern or organization.

Must a basic word be trademarked?

The short answer is no. Trademark rights are not automatic, and you don’t need to trademark your word in order to protect it. Likewise, even if you’ve successfully registered a trademark for your brand name or slogan, that doesn’t mean that other companies won’t be able to use similar words in their marketing materials.

Trademarking a word is not necessary because there are other ways to protect trademarks. You can register as a service mark instead of a trademark if you want broader protection against competitors imitating your packaging design or other physical elements of your business identity (e.g., logo). In addition, copyright law protects creative works such as photographs and videos on the internet just as strongly as trademarks do; so, if someone infringes on one of these protected items without permission from its owner, they could get into serious legal trouble!

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase or design that identifies the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishes them from those of others. Trademark rights may be established by use in commerce, or on the basis of intent to use.

Trademark rights may also be lost through abandonment, improper licensing practices or dilution.

Trademarks do not require registration in most countries, although it is possible to register them at both national and international levels for maximum protection within each jurisdiction.

What is a legal trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

A “badge” may accompany either form of legal trademark. It consists in essence of an additional word (or words) to describe what type(s) of goods/services are being offered by the business. This second word can be used in conjunction with any other type(s) by simply adding them together as an adjective:

  • Trademark + Badge = Service Mark + Badge = Trade Dress (when referring specifically to clothing)

What is the USPTO?

The USPTO is the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an agency of the US Department of Commerce.

USPTO was established by Congress in 1802 to examine and grant patents for inventions.

In 1870, the office’s name changed from Patent Office to its current name – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

How to check if your word/pictorial logo/idea is already trademarked.

You should conduct a thorough search of your word or logo’s availability before you file a trademark application. It is helpful to use an online USPTO Trademark search tool, such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), Google and Yahoo! searches, social media searches, and even asking people in your network if they know of anyone else who uses similar words/pictorial logos/ideas.

If you find that someone else already has a trademark for the same word or logo that you want to use for your business, then you will need to either change your name or design so it does not conflict with other trademarks or abandon the idea altogether.

How to file for a USPTO trademark application.

You can apply for a USPTO application in three ways:

  • This is the best option if you are able to file electronically, since it costs $325 and saves money on mailing a paper application. If you want to go this route, check out our guide on how to file an online USPTO application.
  • By mail. You can mail a paper copy of your application along with payment of $400 per class or international class (a total of $1,650) within one month after filing your intent-to-use application online. This will speed up processing time by about six months but cost more than uploading documents via TEAS Plus at the end of that period—so this option may not be ideal for everyone. See our guide on how to send documents via regular mail when filing a U.S.-based trademark application here
  • By phone or fax: To save even more money on postage costs and avoid waiting in line at a post office so you could mail off your paperwork personally, call or email Trademark Electronic Application System representatives at 1-800-786-9199 (toll free), 617-951 -7800 (collect calls accepted), email them at efiling@uspto .gov

How does the USPTO work?

  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a government agency that works to protect intellectual property rights in the United States.
  • Its mission is to help the public understand and protect intellectual property (IP) rights.
  • The USPTO works with foreign countries around the world to help protect IP rights in those countries as well.
  • It has offices in Alexandria, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Silicon Valley; Dallas, Texas; and New York City.

What is an examiner?

The examiner at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the person who reviews your application. To see if it meets all of the requirements for trademark registration. If you have filed a complete and accurate application, you will be issued a Notice of Allowance.

If an examiner finds that your mark conflicts with another registered mark. He or he may request that you change parts of your mark or provide. Additional information about how consumers would perceive it.

How long does it take to get a trademark through the USPTO?

The average time it takes to get a trademark through the USPTO is 6-12 months. However, this can vary depending on the complexity of your application and. How many similar applications there are in the queue.

  • If you decide to change the name of your work, be sure to submit a new copyright application. With this new title so that no one else will have ownership over it and can claim plagiarism. If they see similarities between their product and yours later on!


The USPTO does not offer any legal advice and cannot advise. you on whether. Your word, image or idea is registrable. You should seek the advice of a lawyer or USPTO trademark search firm before filing for a federal trademark registration.

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