How to File a Trademark Application
Ready to change that TM to an R? With trademarks, the entire process can be completed online pretty easily, even if you do it yourself without hiring an attorney. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, provides great self-help and a manageable online interview. If you’ve decided to apply for a trademark on your own without hiring a lawyer, here’s what you need to know to file your trademark application online.
Three Application Types
There are three trademark application types.
Type 1: TEAS Plus Application (Cheapest)
With a TEAS Plus application, the fee per class of goods/services is reduced to $225.00 because the application must select from one of the USPTO pre-approved descriptions of goods/services. The USPTO provides a very helpful application search tool to locate the best description for your needs. As is explained further below, you can e-mail the USPTO and ask them to add your class of goods/services if you can’t find a good match for your goods/services, and they generally will either add your description or tell you which description they think already matches what you have. Often, only one class is selected, but sometimes more than one class is needed to adequately protect your mark .
The TEAS Plus Application also requires that the entire application be electronically processed. No paper documents may be filed in the case and that includes correspondence with the USPTO, which must also be done through e-mail.
Type 2: TEAS Reduced Fee (RF) Application
With this application, the fee per class of goods/services selected is $275.00. Even though this is the middle-priced of the application types, it is called reduced fee. The only other difference between the reduced fee application is that it allows you to create your own custom description of goods/services. However, don’t forget that you may be able to file the TEAS Plus and get the USPTO to add your custom description, which would save money. As with the TEAS Plus application, the TEAS RF also requires that all filings and communications be done electronically either through the USPTO system or e-mail.
Type 3: The TEAS Regular Application
It allows you to customize your description. It also allows you to file a paper application instead of e-filing and receive correspondence through the mail. Because it requires the most work by the USPTO, the TEAS Regular application has the highest fee per class of goods/services, which is $325.00. TEAS Regular applicants are strongly encouraged, although not required, to authorize e-mail correspondence and use the Trademark Electronic Application System for subsequent application-related submissions.
Provide Applicant Information
Select “no” to whether an attorney is filing the application. Then, enter the name of the owner of mark, which can be either a business or an individual. If an individual is filing the application, enter that person’s country of citizenship. For a corporation, enter the state or country of incorporation. For an LLC, enter the state or country where the company was organized. For limited partnerships, joint ventures, sole proprietorships, trusts, and estates, enter the state or country of organization. If domestic, also provide the name and citizenship of all general partners, active members, individual, trustees or executors. Finally, provide the complete address and phone of the mark owner.
Give Information About Your Mark
There are three types of trademarks: standard character mark, special form (stylized design), and sound.
The first and most common type of trademark is a standard character mark, which is often just a word, phrase or slogan.
The second type of trademark is a special form mark, which is a stylized design and often contains words or phrases. With this type of mark, you will attach a JPG image file showing the mark. Then, enter the literal element, which can consist of words, letters, punctuation and/or numbers. If you are claiming color as a feature, list the colors. Otherwise, check the box that you are not claiming color as a feature. Also enter a complete and accurate description of the entire mark including all literal elements and/or design elements found in the attached image.
The third type of trademark is a sound mark. With a sound mark, you must attach a sound/motion file in WAV, WMV, WMA, MP3, MPG, or AVI format. Also enter the literal element including words, letters, punctuation and/or numbers. Only enter literal elements that appear in the sound file you attached.
The Optional Additional Statement
You also have the option to enter various legal or informational statements that may pertain to the mark. The types of applicable facts existing at the time of filing include a claim of prior registration(s), translation, transliteration, the consent of an individual identified in the mark, or a concurrent use claim. Often filers choose to not enter any additional statement.
Selecting Goods/Services Information
Your selection of goods/services must be precise and accurate. Do not simply select a listing that is close to your goods/services. Click “Add Goods/Services,” which takes you to the search page where you enter a word, number or phrase to search for Goods/Services. Enclose complete phrases in quotation marks. You can also search by the class number. Select the applicable Goods/Services and click “go.” The ID manual entries will be displayed. Check the applicable entry/entries and click “Insert Checked Entries.” If you do not find a listing that accurately identifies your goods/services, you may e-mail TMIDSUGGEST@uspto.gov to request that your identification be added to the ID manual, and then wait for the addition before filing using TEAS Plus.
Note: On this page of the combined TEAS Reduced Fee/Regular application, you may select goods/services description from the ID Manual the same as the TEAS Plus, or enter free form text. If you choose to enter free form text, you are not required to use an entry from the ID Manual; however, if your entry is not from the ID manual, you must describe your goods/services in specific, clear, and concise terms. The ID manual is available here.
Choosing which Basis for Filing to Assign Your Trademark
You must select either 1a, 1b, 44d, or 44e. "Specimen" refers to your trademark. With a standard character mark or special form mark, the specimen is usually a PDF of your logo, in color if you are claiming color as part of a special form mark. With a soundmark, the specimen is a sound/motion file.
1a (Priority Based on Already Used in Commerce)
1. Attach the specimen. Check box if color specimen. Then, browse, attach and return to the application.
2. Enter a description of the specimen.
3. Enter the date of first use of mark anywhere.
4. Enter the date of first use of mark in commerce.
1b (Priority based on intent to use).
For Priority basis on intent to use, you will enter the same information as 1-3 above for Priority Basis on Already Used in Commerce, but you must also check a box indicating that you understand “intent to use” as a filing basis.
44d (Priority based on foreign filing)
This option is only used if you claim that your trademark has already been filed (but not yet registered) outside the U.S. Enter the country of foreign filing, the foreign application number and the date of the foreign filing.
44e (Priority Based on Foreign Registration)
This option is only used if you claim that your trademark has been registered in a foreign country. Unlike with the 44d, 44e requires that the trademark not only have been filed in a foreign country, but also that the registration process is complete and you have a registered trademark in that country. To file under this basis, enter the country of foreign registration, the foreign registration number, the foreign registration date, and the expiration date of the foreign registration. Then, attach the foreign registration/proof of renewal/translation.
Review Your Information
Carefully review all of the information you have entered. Make any corrections. Once you are satisfied that your information is correct and complete, click “continue.” If you are filing yourself without an attorney, make sure you do not click on attorney filing or appoint a domestic representative.
Fee Information and Signature
You must choose one of three signature methods. The first and easiest method is to sign directly with an electronic signature by typing in your name. If you are an authorized representative of the mark owner, you can use this method. The second method is to have an e-mail form sent to a second party for signature. The third method is to print out a signature page, sign it and submit the signature page electronically as an attachment to your application. Enter the date of the signature and the signer’s position, if applicable. Then, click “Validate.”
At this point, you have completed all of the mandatory fields and have successfully validated the form, although your application has not yet been filed to the USPTO. You must click “pay/submit.”