Yes, you can “trademark your name.” But, first, what does it mean to “trademark my name”? If your business name, phrase, slogan, tagline, product name is being used to identify goods or services with your business, then it is a trademark.
The registration of a trademark means that the trademark has been searched by your lawyers and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There is due diligence performed. The goods and services are defined properly. Your trademark has been offered for public review and passed that review. After that process, you can “trademark your name.”
The process, however, is important to understand what other marks exist in the marketplace for your goods/services. So, while you want to “trademark your name,” your lawyers’ job is to avoid liability while filing that application for a trademark registration.
Yes, you can “trademark your name.” Just remember it may already be in use as a trademark, which creates liability when that mark is not searched. How do you do it?
Step One: Search for Trademarks
Your brand name, your logo, and other symbols of your business are what you want to protect. Your brand name, i.e. your trademark, is central to you and your business. It represents your business in the marketplace. It represents the quality that your business and its products stand for.
That brand name or logo or symbol might be in use by another business. Finding that out is the first and most essential step in the trademark registration process: it is necessary to search for marks that may be the same or confusingly similar. Searching for similar trademarks (on federal, state, and common-law basis) is necessary before making any decision to apply for trademark registration on a federal or state basis.
Once a search is performed on your behalf, we analyze the results and prepare a written opinion for you to consider before taking next steps. The purpose of that opinion is to identify risks of your business’ use of the trademark in commerce and its application to register that mark. Once you have made the decision to proceed with use and registration of a trademark, filing the application is the next step in the process.
Here is our video blog on the need for trademark searches:
Step Two: File the Trademark Application
After a business has done its due diligence and searched the marketplace for the same or similar trademarks, a business can apply for trademark registration. The United States Patent and Trademark Office employs attorneys to review all trademark registration applications. These attorneys apply a set of procedures to all applications.
Some applications are rejected by the examining attorneys for a variety of reasons, often triggered because businesses have filed an application without assistance of counsel. We can often help address the problems in many of those situations. Once the application for registration is approved, published without opposition, and an affidavit of using the trademark in commerce is properly filed, the USPTO will issue a registration for that trademark.
Step Three: Monitor and Protect the Trademark
What does it mean to protect a trademark? Trademarks are not nouns or verbs, they are adjectives. There are certain rules of usage of a trademark that have an impact on whether or not that trademark will be protected. It is possible that others will try to register a mark that is similar to your mark.
As the owner of a registered mark, there is only a certain period of time to object to another’s similar application. Additionally, it is incumbent of the owner of a registered mark to monitor the marketplace; otherwise, marks that might be objectionable to the owner might be approved by the USPTO. For example, once a mark is published for opposition, the owner of another trademark has only 90 days to after publication within which to object to the application of another person. The important step is to search regularly for new trademark applications that can possibly interfere with a business’ registered trademarks.
Our firm can assist in advising in how to monitor and protect your business’ trademarks and can offer options for action. In this particular case, it’s the entire process that makes a trademark: Searching, filing, registering, monitoring, enforcement. If any step of the process is missing, then the trademark is worthless.
Monitoring trademarks can lead to trademark infringement lawsuits. Here is a video blog about infringement lawsuits in the apparel industry:
Names “can be trademarked,” but there must be full protection. Do you have questions about performing a trademark search, filing a trademark application, or enforcing your trademarks?
Call Verna Law, P.C. at (914)908-6757 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about trademark infringement, please call Verna Law, P.C. at 914-908-6757 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.