Welcome to the sixth blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. In our last blog, Applying for a Trademark, we talked about the three different types of federal trademark applications and the requirements of each. Now that you understand the different types of applications you can use to apply for a trademark, we’re going to dive into how to apply for a trademark.
The government has the tough job of reviewing trademark applications and deciding if they should approve the registrations. The way that they decide if they will approve the application is by asking questions in the trademark application. They assign an examining attorney to your file and they review the responses to see if your application meets the criteria that the law requires for trademark registration.
Trademark Application Questions
Let’s talk about some of the questions that you will have to answer within your trademark application:
Who Owns the Trademark?
One of the first things the government will want to know is who is the owner of the mark. The mark can be an individual, several individuals or even a business. Whenever we are filing a federal trademark application for a client, one of the first things that we do when discussing the application is to conduct a legal analysis to let our clients know if it is in their best interests to own the mark (e.g., the name, logo or phrase they want to register) as an individual or for their business itself to own the mark. In some cases, listing yourself as the owner may expose you to more liability. In other cases, there may be tax benefits for letting your business own the name or it may increase the value of the company when you sell. Either way, we recommend having an attorney conduct a thorough analysis of your individual situation before you make this decision.
How Can They Contact You?
The government needs to know the best way to reach you if and when they have questions. An important part of the review process is that the government will assign an examining attorney to your file that will oftentimes have additional questions which need a response by a specific deadline or you risk losing your application altogether. Some of the applications will offer you a discounted rate if you agree to receive and submit all of your communications via e-mail. You can learn more about the 3 types of trademark applications by reading our blog Applying for a Trademark. Either way, you will need to provide contact information that you check regularly so that the government can communicate with you. Another benefit that our clients get when hiring us to do their trademarks is that all of the communications from the government come directly to our office. We always forward them to our clients so that they have a copy. However, this makes us responsible for receiving and responding to them by the deadlines and keeps our clients from having to worry about missing an important e-mail from the government and having their trademark application terminated.
What is the Mark?
You get to chose between registering your mark as a “word or phrase” or by registering an actual illustration (logo, etc.) representing the mark. Most people immediately want to register the logo of their brand. However, there may be drawbacks to doing this because sometimes protecting the words will allow you to have greater and broader legal rights in association with the mark
These are just a few of the questions you will need to answer in your federal trademark application. Check out our next blog to learn about the remaining items you will need to be prepared to address within your application.
If you have additional questions or concerns about the federal trademark application process, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation to learn more about owning your name, logo or slogan, please feel free to contact us.