Protect Your Brand: How to Trademark a Name Successfully

Protect Your Brand: How to Trademark a Name Successfully

How to trademark a name is crucial for any business looking to protect its unique brand identity. Here’s a quick overview to get you started: 1. Decide if you need a trademark for your specific business name or logo. 2. Search for existing trademarks to ensure your desired name isn't already taken. 3. Prepare your application with thorough details about your trademark. 4. File your application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Trademarks are not just legal protections; they are essential assets for your business. They safeguard your market presence by preventing others from using similar signs or names that could potentially confuse your customers. In the bustling marketplace, a trademark acts like a fortress around your brand's unique attributes—be it your logo, name, or a particular phrase.

Understanding the trademark process is fundamental. It starts with a thoughtful evaluation of whether a trademark is necessary, followed by a comprehensive search and application preparation. This initial groundwork can make a significant difference in protecting your brand efficiently.

Step-by-step process to trademark a name - how to trademark a name infographic process-5-steps-informal

Understanding the Trademark Process

Navigating the trademark registration process can initially seem daunting. Here's a simplified breakdown of key elements you'll encounter, including the USPTO, Official Gazette, TTAB, Notice of allowance, and Statement of use.

USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office)

The USPTO is the federal agency responsible for handling trademark registrations. It's your first stop in the journey of trademarking a name. Here, you can search existing trademarks, file your application, and manage your trademark registration. The USPTO's online systems, like the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), are designed to streamline the process for applicants.

Official Gazette

Once your trademark application passes preliminary checks by a USPTO examiner, it's published in the Official Gazette. This weekly publication serves as a public record, announcing new trademarks. Publication here is crucial as it opens a 30-day window during which anyone can oppose your trademark if they believe it infringes on their rights.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)

If someone does oppose your trademark, the case is handled by the TTAB, an administrative tribunal within the USPTO. This board adjudicates various aspects of trademark law including oppositions and appeals. Understanding the function of the TTAB can help you prepare for potential challenges in the registration process.

Notice of Allowance

For trademarks filed under an "intent to use" basis, receiving a Notice of Allowance is a significant step. It means your trademark has passed opposition and is nearing registration. However, it's not the end of the road. You must show that you are actively using the mark in commerce by submitting a Statement of Use.

Statement of Use

A Statement of Use (SOU) is a document where you affirm that the trademark is in use in commerce under the categories listed in your application. You need to submit this along with samples of the trademark as used (like packaging or advertisements). If you're not ready to file the SOU, you can request extensions in six-month increments to delay filing.

Understanding each component of this process is crucial for navigating it smoothly and ensuring your trademark secures the protection it deserves. By familiarizing yourself with these steps, you can better anticipate potential hurdles and streamline your path to trademark registration.

How to Trademark a Name

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Your Trademark

Trademarking a name is a vital step to protect your brand's identity and ensure exclusive rights to use it nationwide. Here’s a simplified guide to help you through the process:

  1. Decide Necessity: Before anything else, determine if trademarking is necessary for your business. If you plan to operate beyond your local area or expect significant brand growth, a federal trademark is advisable.

  2. Search Existing Trademarks: Use the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to check if your desired name or a similar one is already trademarked. This helps avoid future legal complications and application rejections.

  3. Prepare Your Application: Gather all necessary information including the name, logo, and any distinctive stylings of your trademark. Decide which class of goods or services you will register under. This preparation is crucial for a smooth filing process.

  4. Filing Online: Submit your application through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You’ll need to choose between TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard, based on how detailed your provided descriptions are.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

During the trademark process, you might face several hurdles. Here’s how to handle them:

  • Office Actions: If the USPTO has issues with your application, they will send an office action. This could be due to a too-similar existing trademark, or issues with your application's details. Respond promptly and precisely, possibly with the help of a trademark attorney.

  • Legal Objections: Sometimes, legal objections might arise, for example, if your trademark is considered too generic or descriptive. A detailed response illustrating the distinctiveness of your trademark can help overcome these objections.

  • Trademark Oppositions: After your trademark application is published in the Official Gazette, there is a period during which others can oppose it. If faced with opposition, consider engaging a legal professional to represent your case effectively.

Navigating these challenges requires a clear understanding of trademark laws and often, the assistance of a skilled attorney. This ensures that your application not only meets all legal criteria but is also robust enough to withstand objections and oppositions.

Understanding each component of this process is crucial for navigating it smoothly and ensuring your trademark secures the protection it deserves. By familiarizing yourself with these steps, you can better anticipate potential hurdles and streamline your path to trademark registration.

Costs Involved in Trademarking a Name

Breakdown of USPTO Fees

The cost of trademarking a name can vary significantly based on several factors, including the number of classes under which the mark is filed and whether any legal challenges arise. Here's a simple breakdown of the basic fees you'll encounter during the trademark registration process:

  • TEAS Plus: $225 per class of goods/services
  • TEAS Standard: $275 per class of goods/services

These fees cover the initial application and are non-refundable, even if your trademark application is not approved.

Statement of Use

If you file your trademark under an "intent to use" basis, you'll need to submit a Statement of Use once your mark is actually being used in commerce. This costs $100 per class and is required to finalize the registration process.


Trademark registration is not a one-time cost. To maintain the rights to your trademark, you must renew it every ten years. The renewal fee is $425 per class if filed online. This ongoing cost ensures that your trademark protection remains active and enforceable.

When to Consider Professional Help

While it's possible to navigate the trademark registration process on your own, certain situations almost certainly require professional legal assistance:

  • Complex Cases: If your trademark involves complex legal issues or is likely to be contested, a trademark attorney can provide invaluable help.
  • Legal Advice: Even in straightforward cases, consulting with an attorney can clarify your rights and the strength of your trademark, potentially saving you from costly mistakes.
  • Trademark Disputes: If another party challenges your trademark application or if you need to contest someone else's trademark, professional legal help is crucial.

Hiring a trademark attorney typically costs between $500 and $2,000 for basic services, but this can increase if the case is complex or if there are legal challenges. Given these potential costs and the importance of your trademark to your business, investing in professional advice can be a wise decision.

Maintaining your trademark involves more than just paying renewal fees. You need to actively monitor the use of your trademark in the market and be prepared to enforce your rights through legal action if necessary. This might involve additional costs, such as those for issuing cease and desist letters or engaging in legal proceedings.

By understanding these costs and when to seek professional help, you can better manage the financial aspect of protecting your brand and ensure that your trademark serves its fundamental purpose: to distinguish your goods and services from those of others and protect your market identity.

Protecting Your Trademark

Protecting your trademark is crucial for maintaining the integrity and value of your brand. Once you've successfully registered your trademark, the real work begins to ensure it continues to serve as a unique identifier for your products or services.

How to Use Your Trademark in Commerce

Using your trademark in commerce is essential to maintain your registration. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Display the Trademark: Always use the ™ symbol with your trademark until you receive the official registration certificate from the USPTO. After registration, you can start using the ® symbol, which notifies others that your mark is officially registered and provides you with nationwide protection.
  • Consistent Use: Use your trademark consistently in the exact form it was registered. This includes using the specific font, style, and color if these elements were included in your registration.
  • Marketing Materials: Incorporate your trademark into all marketing materials, including advertisements, brochures, and digital content. This not only reinforces brand identity but also legally protects your mark.

Maintaining Your Trademark

To ensure your trademark remains protected, you must meet certain maintenance requirements set by the USPTO. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Monitoring: Regularly monitor the market for any unauthorized use of your trademark. Tools like online search engines and trade publications can help you spot potential infringements.
  • Enforcement: If you discover unauthorized use, act swiftly. Initially, a cease and desist letter can be sent to the infringer, which is often enough to stop the unauthorized use. For persistent issues, legal action may be necessary to protect your rights.
  • Renewal Filings: Trademarks must be renewed with the USPTO to maintain registration. The first renewal is due between the 5th and 6th year after registration, and subsequent renewals are required every 10 years.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of your trademark use, including dates and examples of how and where it has been used in commerce. This documentation is crucial during the renewal process to prove that the trademark is still in active use.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure that your trademark use complies with all relevant laws and regulations. This includes adhering to advertising standards and respecting other trademarks to avoid disputes.

By actively using, monitoring, and maintaining your trademark, you can leverage its full value in marketing your products or services while ensuring compliance with legal standards. A trademark is not just a symbol but a critical asset to your business's brand strategy and legal protection.

Frequently Asked Questions about Trademarking a Name

Can I trademark a name myself?

Yes, you can trademark a name by yourself without hiring an attorney, especially if you're applying within the U.S. The process involves several steps, which are primarily handled online through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) website. Here’s what you need to do: - Conduct a thorough search to ensure your trademark isn’t already taken. - Prepare and submit your application. - Respond to any USPTO communications. - Maintain your trademark registration once approved.

However, while it's possible to do it on your own, having a professional like KickSaaS Legal can streamline the process and increase the likelihood of success, particularly if legal challenges arise.

What are the rules for trademarking a name?

To trademark a name, it must meet several criteria: - Distinctiveness: The name should be unique enough to be distinguished from other trademarks, especially within your industry. - Non-descriptive: It should not merely describe the products or services but offer a unique identification that separates it from others. - Not misleading: The trademark should not mislead consumers about the nature, quality, or geographical origin of the goods or services. - No conflicts: Ensure the name doesn’t infringe on existing trademarks, which could lead to legal disputes.

Use tools like the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to search for existing trademarks that might be similar to your desired name.

How much does it cost to trademark a name?

The cost to trademark a name can vary depending on several factors, including the number of classes under which the trademark will be filed and whether you hire a professional to assist with the application. Here’s a general breakdown: - USPTO Filing Fees: These start at $250 per class for the basic electronic application. - Additional Costs: If your application is based on an intent to use the trademark, additional fees will apply as you submit evidence of use. Also, responding to any USPTO office actions can incur further costs. - Attorney Fees: If you choose to hire an attorney, fees will vary based on the complexity of your trademark and the level of service provided.

It's important to budget not just for the initial application but for ongoing maintenance and potential legal fees should disputes arise.

By understanding these aspects, you can better prepare for the journey of trademarking a name, ensuring that your brand is protected and that you comply with all necessary legal standards. Whether you choose to go it alone or seek professional help, the key is thorough preparation and vigilant maintenance of your trademark rights.


Trademarking a name is more than just a legal formality; it's a strategic step in protecting and enhancing the value of your brand. By securing a trademark, you ensure that your unique business identity is safeguarded against misuse and confusion in the marketplace. This not only helps in maintaining your brand's integrity but also in building consumer trust and loyalty, which are crucial for business growth and sustainability.

At KickSaaS Legal, we specialize in trademark services tailored specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs. We understand the challenges and intricacies that you face in the digital and SaaS sectors. Our approach combines deep legal expertise with a real-world understanding of the business landscape, which allows us to offer solutions that are not only legally robust but also commercially sensible.

Why Choose KickSaaS Legal? - Specialized Knowledge: Our team is deeply embedded in the SaaS and digital marketing sectors, providing insights that generalist firms might overlook. - Flat-Fee Pricing: We believe in transparency and predictability in legal costs. Our flat-fee pricing model means no surprises, allowing you to budget effectively for your trademark needs. - Comprehensive Services: From conducting thorough trademark searches to handling complex registrations and dealing with oppositions, we manage all aspects of trademark law so you can focus on growing your business.

Securing a trademark with us is not just about legal protection; it’s about making a smart business decision that positions your brand for success in a competitive market. We invite you to explore our trademark services and take the first step towards securing your brand's future.

A trademark is not just a legal shield; it's a vital asset in your business strategy. With the right guidance and support, the process of trademarking a name can be smooth and rewarding, providing lasting benefits for your business. Let us help you navigate this journey with confidence and ensure that your brand stands out and thrives in the marketplace.

Back to blog