According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, there are more than 1 million trademark patent applications filed in this country each year. If you have a brand name, a logo, or something else that you would like to trademark, you should try to do it ASAP.
Before you get started, though, you should know that applying for trademarks and getting them approved isn’t always easy to do. It also isn’t easy to avoid some of the most common trademark mistakes.
To ensure that the trademark registration process goes smoothly for you, you should spend some time learning about the mistakes that are so often made by others. It’ll increase the chances of you being able to figure out how trademarks work without making any mistakes along the way.
Here are seven common trademark mistakes and what you should do to steer clear of them.
1. Attempting to Trademark Something That’s Already Been Trademarked
If you’re going to try to trademark something, it’ll be important for you to make sure that it hasn’t already been trademarked. You’re going to waste a lot of time and money if you make this particular mistake.
The USPTO actually encourages those thinking about filing for a trademark to look through its trademark filing database before they do anything else. It might save them from wasting their time filing for a trademark when something similar has already been trademarked.
2. Trying to Trademark a Generic Name, Logo, Etc.
If you’re able to earn a trademark on a brand name, a logo, etc., it’ll give you the exclusive right to use it. With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that the USPTO won’t approve trademarks for brand names, logos, etc. that are on the generic side.
If, for example, you try to trademark “Best Coffee” as the name of your coffee shop, you’re going to have a tough time getting it approved. This is way too generic for the USPTO.
You should make it your mission to come up with something unique when you’re in search of a trademark. It’ll give you a much better chance of being approved for a trademark in the end.
3. Picking the Wrong Trademark Class for a Trademark
When you’re filling out an application for a trademark, you’ll need to pick a trademark class for it. You should try to choose the class that fits your trademark request best.
If, for instance, you’re trademarking the name of a coffee shop, you won’t want to trademark it in the auto repair class. Outside of the fact that your application will likely get rejected, it’s also not going to do you much good even if it does somehow get approved.
4. Going Through the Trademark Application Process Without a Lawyer
One of the best ways to avoid the most common trademark mistakes when you’re going through the trademark application process is by hiring a lawyer to help you. More specifically, you should have a great trademark attorney in your corner giving you advice at every turn.
A trademark attorney will know the ins and outs of filing a trademark application. They’ll be able to give you a much greater chance of being approved for the trademark that you’re looking for.
A trademark attorney can also answer any and all questions you might have and make you feel so much better about putting your application in. It’ll be great having them on your side during this sometimes stressful situation.
5. Forgetting to Keep Tabs on the Status of a Trademark Application
You’re not going to be able to get a trademark application approved overnight. In most cases, it’s going to take months until you hear whether or not you’ve been approved for a trademark.
But this doesn’t mean that you should put in a trademark application and then disappear. Instead, you and your trademark attorney should check in on your application every so often to see where it stands.
The USPTO might ask you to clarify things in your trademark application at some point. They may also ask you for additional information on your trademark application at any time. It’ll be up to you to respond to them as soon as you can to keep the application process moving along.
6. Failing to Enforce a Trademark
If all goes according to plan, you will eventually be granted a trademark by the USPTO. But you should know that the USPTO isn’t going to be in charge of enforcing your trademark. Enforcing trademark rights will ultimately be your job.
You should keep an eye out for any possible trademark infringement that goes on, and you should bring legal action against whoever is responsible for it. It’s another good reason to have a trademark lawyer who can help you out.
7. Using the TM Symbol When You Don’t Have a Trademark
Some people are under the impression that they can just slap the TM symbol on a brand name, logo, etc., and use it without actually having a trademark. You might be able to get away with doing this without the USPTO realizing it, but that TM symbol isn’t going to be worth anything in court.
Don’t just randomly start using the TM symbol on things without a trademark. It’s another one of the common trademark mistakes that could put you into a difficult spot down the line.
Don’t Make Any of These Common Trademark Mistakes
Getting a trademark for something can be challenging for a number of reasons. The biggest challenge you might face will be avoiding all of the common trademark mistakes.
Keep these trademark mistakes on your radar at all times and try not to make any of them. It’ll make the trademark application process simpler than it would be otherwise.
Search for more useful business-related tips and tricks in our other blog articles.