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Building a Social Network: The Trademark Process Explained

The Trademark Process Explained

Ideally, an attorney should handle your trademark registration. Unfortunately money doesn’t grow on trees so your only option may be to register the trademark on your own. Even if you complete this task on your own be prepared to pay between $350.00 – $1,500.00 for the USPTO filing fees. There is a reason the cost can vary so much; it depends on how many classes/categories you need to register. At the time this article was written the fee/charge per class/category was $325.00 (Please follow the second link below to find the current fee schedule). As you can see, at $325.00 registering a trademark can get very pricey. It should also be noted that a trademark can also be considered a service mark depending on the type of business for which the mark is being registered.
USPTO Links:

USPTO Home Page

Fee Schedule

Unfortunately, the cost of registering a trademark isn’t the only roadblock. The fine folks at the USPTO are meticulous with details (for good reason) and offer little room for error. If you make any critical mistakes on your application you may find yourself out of the non-refundable registration fees. Your first step should be to review all the information USPTO offers on their website. After you feel comfortable with what you’ve reviewed, search their tess database for similar logos/marks as well as similar names. If there are trademarks that bare similarities I would recommend speaking to an attorney before you continue.

After you’ve reviewed the information on and made sure there are no similarly registered trademarks, it’s time to do more homework. The best advice I can give you is to find similar businesses and/or websites that have successfully registered their trademarks and review the information they used for their registration. By no means whatsoever am I recommending you copy their information (this would be illegal), just use it as tool to make sure you’re looking in the right direction for the correct class/category as well as what the trademark office is looking for in a description.

There are two basic formats for trademark registration; standard character and stylized. The standard character format is for the registration of words alone, with no claim to any special font or designs. The stylized format is what was used for due to the uniqueness of the logos design and the fact that there were special fonts and illustrations claimed as a part of the trademark. The latter is obviously much more difficult to register due to the scrupulous detail required to satisfy the requirements set by the USPTO.

If you’re like me then you would probably expect a pretty quick turnaround after forking out hundreds of dollars to register your trademark; think again. I’m sure the USPTO is very busy and the type of data they handle is very detailed and extremely important to many individuals and companies alike. However, I was pretty shocked when I found out the timeline was three to six months before an examining attorney would even look at my application. It is also estimated that the entire process from filing to final registration will take between thirteen and sixteen months. When you file without an attorney this can be a pretty painful and worrisome wait; wondering if everything was submitted correctly.

After your application is reviewed by the attorney he/she will give you an approval or denial for the official publication of the USPTO gazette. If approved you will eventually be provided a date your trademark will be published. At which point there will be a waiting period of 30 days. During this time anyone who has reason to oppose the registration of your trademark has the right to contact the USPTO. I guess a good analogy would be speak now or forever hold your peace.

More to come…

One Response to “Building a Social Network: The Trademark Process Explained”

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