How to Obtain a US Trademark

The Trademark Search and Attorney Recommendation
A professional trademark search is recommended to determine whether your mark is eligible for adoption, use, and federal registration. A trademark attorney's recommendation based on the results of a trademark search can alert you to whether the use of your mark could infringe upon another party's federal, state, or common law trademark rights and whether or not you can claim exclusive rights for the use of your mark. If your mark contains both words and a design, it's wise to conduct searches for both. There is no limit as to how long federal trademark registration rights can last as long as the mark is being used.

Applying for Federal Registration
When the search indicates that your mark can be registered, you should apply for federal registration as soon as possible. You have two options. You can file a "use-based" application if the mark is currently in use in interstate commerce. Alternately, you can file an "intent-to-use" application if you have not yet used the mark, but intend to do so and wish to reserve it for use in the future. An "intent-to-use" application to obtain trademark protection establishes nationwide priority for a mark from the filing date of the application. To receive a Certificate of Registration, you must demonstrate actual use of the mark to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

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