Product names and logos are protected by trademark law. While it isn't necessary to register a logo, product or company name, registration of a trademark gives the owner of the registered mark full protection in the event the mark is ever used by someone else.
Without registration, a trademark may only be protected within a specific geographical location rather than nationwide and the owner is only allowed to indicate a trademark with a small "TM." A registered trademark carries the "R" enclosed in a circle, indicating the mark is registered and fully protected from unauthorized use under the law.
Search the US Patent and Trademark Website
Search the registered and pending trademark database available at the United States Patent and Trademark website. This is necessary before you can register your trademark. The search allows you to ensure your trademark hasn't been registered by someone else. If a trademark exists for a name or logo you want to register, or even if it is not exact, your registration might be denied.
After you've used the search function and feel your name or logo is free to register, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will run its own check.
Fill Out a Trademark Registration Form
Fill out a trademark registration form online once you are sure your name or logo is eligible for registration. To do this, click on the online forms link. This will take you to the primary registration form. Indicate whether or not an attorney is filing the registration form. If you aren't an attorney, click "no" and then use the "Continue" button to proceed.
Add Trademark Owner Information
Fill in the required information for the form, including the name of the owner of the trademark, whether you are filing as an individual, corporation or other entity, your address, phone number, email address, etc. Click the "Add Owner" button to add an owner if there is more than one.
Indicate the Name You Would Like to Trademark
Type in the name you would like to become a registered trademark. Select the goods or services you want to associate with this trademark.
Describe the Mark and Attach a Logo
Select whether you have used the mark before or if it is currently being used. Describe the mark and attach a specimen (logo) in jpeg or PDF format. Be sure to include the date you first used the mark.
Use TM to Indicate Your Trademark is Pending
Exit when you have finished filling in the fields. Your registration forms will be reviewed and you will be contacted within thirty days regarding whether or not your registration has been accepted. If it has been accepted, you will be given payment instructions. You will not receive proof of registration until after your trademark has been approved.
Until this time, you must use "TM" to indicate your trademark is pending. The registered symbol is reserved for a legally registered trademark.
- registered trade mark symbol image by PaulPaladin from Fotolia.com