Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs
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How to File a Trademark

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ever wondered where to start with trademarking your logo or name of your product? A registered trademark is considered a business asset and could help establish your brand.

    First things first: Head on over to the United States Patent and Trademark Office where you can read about the process and more importantly search your current competition. You won’t want to spend the money to have your trademark application fail because someone else already holds a glaringly similar registration. It’s also a good idea to see how other companies are using their trademarks. Check out companies like Soft Soap® who register things like Wowerful™ for their body wash. I am confident that I’m more wowerful™ after having used the juicy pomegranate.

    Now that you’ve done your homework, go ahead and add the ™ to your logo or catchphrase. This way, you show that you’ve been using your logo as a trademark in good faith. Be sure to document the date so you can show at which point you began using it.

    It’s likely at this point you’ll want to reach out to a trademark lawyer to help you file the application. Although you can file it yourself, you will get invaluable advice along the way as I did. Things like describing your mark need to be very specific.

    Not only did I learn that I could register my mark in black and white, but that this would cover all colors later on. Genius if you ever need to make a tweak.

    You can expect the Trademark Office to come back to you with changes they request. For example, as I register Milestar Babies as a whole, the word "Babies" will not receive special registration as anyone can use the word "babies." I mean, who doesn’t love babies? You can agree with the Trademark Office and keep things moving, or you can petition which will certainly be additional legal time.

    Be aware that trademarking is generally not a drive-through process. Once you have filed you’ll have time to drive across America and back before you receive confirmation. However, if you have done it right, you’ll be adding assets to your business while you continue down your business path.

    Chelsea Duggan is currently running Milestar Babies while chasing her sprinting boys, Trouble One and Trouble Two. She enjoys being an entrepreneurial guinea pig, serving up delectable scones with a posh accent and playing every single day.