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Trademark Application Process

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reviews trademark applications for federal registration and determines whether an applicant meets the requirements for federal registration. The USPTO does not decide whether the owner of the mark has the right to use a mark (which differs from the right to register). Even without a registration, the owner of the mark may still use any mark adopted to identify the source of his goods and/or services. Once a registration issues, it is up to the owner of a mark to enforce his rights in the mark based on ownership of the federal registration.

Using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) available at www.uspto.gov, the owner of a mark can file his application directly over the Internet. Features of electronic filing include Hyper-links that provide help sections for each of the application fields; avoidance of the possible omission of important information; immediate issuance of an initial filing receipt via e-mail containing the assigned application serial number and a summary of the submission; availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except 11 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday), so receipt of a filing date is possible up until midnight EST.

Alternatively, the owner of the mark may either mail or hand deliver a paper application to the USPTO. He can call the USPTO's automated telephone line at (800) 786-9199 to obtain a printed form. However, one may not submit an application by facsimile.

An application must include the following elements before the USPTO will accept it:

  • The name of the applicant
  • A name and address for correspondence
  • A clear drawing of the mark
  • A listing of the goods or services
  • The filing fee for at least one class of goods or services

If your application does not meet these requirements, the USPTO will return the application papers and refund any fees submitted. Additional information regarding filing and processing trademark applications is available from the USPTO.

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