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What is a Trademark?

Trademark offers legal protection to intellectual property.

According to the USPTO "a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks."

You can learn more about trademarks by visiting the USPTO office

You can also utilize the FAQ page to learn more

Should you register a Trademark?

While it is true that you do not have to register a mark in order to lay claim to it, it is highly recommended that you do because it puts others on notice that you do have a legal right to the name and exclusive use of the name.  This helps to avoid legal battles later on.

Can you file your own Trademark application?

Filing for a Trademark is something you can do yourself.  It is not necessary to use an Attorney.  However, you should use an attorney if you need advice. 

You can file for a trademark at:  USPTO

How long does it take to get a Trademark approved?

It can take one to several years to successfully negotiate the trademark process and get your trademark.  It all depends on the type of application and legal challenges to it.

What are the filing fees?

Each mark must be filed separately.  The fee is based on the number of "classes" and the type of application being submitted. 


For example, if you file to trademark the term "Toys Playground" to be used on boxes for children's toys, that is one class.  If you want to use it on boxes for children's toys and children's clothes, that's two classes.


There are two applications you could use the TEAS Plus version ($275 per class) and the standard TEAS ($325 per class).  That is, whether you are filing as a small entity or a regular organization.


You can get more details on filing fees at USPTO Filing Fees


You should start your trademark process by doing a search for it in the USPTO database.  If it already exists there is no need to waste your money by filing for it.  Once you file and pay the fees, there is no refund, even if the mark is already registered.


Start your search here:  USPTO Search page



The ® (circled "R") is used to represent a mark that has been registered with a national trademark office.  For the U.S. that is the USPTO.

    or       Symbol

The TM or SM symbols are used to represent a mark that has not been officially registered with the trademark office. 

Displaying the symbol

The proper manner to display these symbols is immediately following the mark in superscript style. For example:


Handling Trademark Infringments









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