The US is one of the coveted markets in the world and we applaud you for thinking to expand your business there! Your first step is to protect your brand in the US and, for that, you need to know what USPTO is and how to get your trademark registered through it.
Your brand’s identity may be captured by a symbol, word, number, or even a mix of colours. This identity is protected through a trademark registration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India. Trademarks symbolise your business, depicting what it stands for, along with an added story. In simpler words, they can be described as brand tags that are unique and protect the brand’s name.
The trademark protection is territory-based, i.e., it can be used in the country in which it is registered. If you want to use the brand name internationally, the trademark must be protected in all those countries.
The USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office)
Every country has its own set of rules and regulations for trademarks. One of the leading countries in the trade and economic sector, the US, also has its rules for registering and obtaining a trademark. The authority that governs the laws and processes regarding trademarks in the US is the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office).
Registering the Trademark
It is not mandatory to register the trademark, and the rights for a trademark can be obtained without registration. But, registration offers several benefits and can be done by filling the application with the USPTO.
For example, when you register, you get statutory right against infringement of your trademark. Registering also makes it easy to prove in courts that you are the true owner of the trademark. You get to use a Ⓡ symbol next to your trademark which asserts ownership and warns others from using it.
The trademark name search tool at Vakilsearch lets you find the previously registered trademarks to avoid copyright infringement.
|Pro tip: You can apply to trademark domain names now! Check the Examination Guidelines for examining “generic.com” terms given by USPTO see the guidance to trademark applicants on the standards they can expect the USPTO to apply in considering whether their domain names can be registered as trademarks.|
Documents Required for Registration
The list of details and documents to be submitted for the United States trademark registration are as follows:
- Name, address, and signature of the applicant along with the entity type
- The type of goods and services under which the brand is being registered
- The basis of filing
- The drawing or a digital image of the logo/trademark that has to be registered
- Description and details of the trademark
If you are an Indian company filing for the United States trademark, it is mandatory to have your trademark registered in India first. It is based on the Indian trademark registration that you will be applying for the trademark registration.
Basis of Filing the Trademark
According to the trademark laws, the ‘filing basis’ are four types based on the requirement and the services provided by the brand.
- Already in use: If the trademark has been in use for trading the goods and services across various boundaries (states and countries)
- Future use: If the individuals are yet to but are going to use their trademark shortly, i.e., within 4-5 years, then the registration can be done on this basis
- Foreign application: On this basis, the foreign application must have been filed, and the registration has to be done within six months
- Foreign registration: Under this basis, foreign registration has been completed. The final procedure has to be completed by submitting a certificate along with the details required.
How to File the Trademark Application Through the USPTO
The trademark application can be filed online on the TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System). The steps to be followed for applying include:
Step 1: Checking trademark availability
You need to check if your trademark is available to be registered in the US. For this, thorough research of the United States trademark registry database has to be conducted to see if there are identical or similar trademarks already registered.
Step 2: Application filing
After all the necessary details are gathered, the application is filled and filed with USPTO.
Step 3: Checking of the trademark
After the filing of the trademark is complete, the Trademark Examiner checks it on various bases.
Step 4: Action and approval of Trademark Office
If any inappropriate information or error is found, a notice is issued concerning the application. A time period of 6 months is provided to correct the information or reapply for the application to be approved. In case, no objection is raised, the form is further sent for approval in the Official Trademark Gazette.
Step 5: Opposition time
Once the trademark is published, a period of 30 days is given for other brands and people to raise opposition against your mark.
Step 6: Final registration
If the opposition and trademark examiners raise no objections, then the application for trademark registration is finally approved and completed. Further, a ‘notice of allowance’ is issued.
Objection and opposition: In case of objection or opposition, you will be given enough time to respond with reasons and proof as to why you should be given the right over the said mark. Additionally, if your reasons and evidence are convincing then they provide you with trademark registration. If not, your application will be rejected.
Validity of a Trademark
Once registered, the trademark is valid for ten years. You can renew your trademark registration before the expiry of the 10 years to get another 10 years of protection.
Benefits of US Trademark Registration
The registration of United States Trademark has several advantages which include:
- Ownership of the brand legally all across the US
- After registering with the USPTO, the highest level of protection is provided to the brand
- Further, the rights for usage of the trademark are provided exclusively
- Legal actions can be taken against those trying to copy the trademarks
- It is easier to get your trademark registered anywhere else in the world.
All that said, the process of registering a United States trademark can be overwhelming and time-consuming. So, we recommend that you check out our Trademark Registration service. Our professionals will handle the majority of the tasks (like trademark research, documentation, and filing) and guide you through the process.