Determining a trademark for your brand can be done before or after you have opened your business. Of course, it is wise to do so beforehand. Choosing a trademark, which can be a name, phrase, word, symbol or product (or combo thereof) that represents your business, can be tricky business. It is very important that you do a trademark search to ensure that it isn't already registered with another business. The last thing you want is a trademark infringement lawsuit over your head. Learning how to trademark your business is simple. Just follow these steps and you should do just fine.
The first step for learning how to trademark your brand is to do tons of research. You can do this on your own or use the help of a trademark attorney. With an attorney, you can receive legal advice regarding the trademark that you're interested in using. For instance, if the lawyer finds that your name or symbol is too similar to another business's trademark then he or she may advise you against using it. You should avoid using anything too similar to other business's trademarks, so that you won't have any problems in the future. This especially goes for businesses that sells the same products or services as yours. You can go to the USPTO web site and use its TESS database to research designs and words/names/phrases. It will detail whether the trademark has an application that is pending, approved, dead, abandoned or expired. If you find the one that you want that has an application that is one of the latter three, then you can go ahead and file your application for the trademark.
Online Trademark Application
Once you have researched the trademark that you would like to use, you can fill out an application online at the USPTO web site. To ensure that your application gets approved, you can use a trademark attorney to do the research for you to make sure that your trademark meets the requirements of the USPTO. You have to be using the trademark for commerce purposes and not simply registering it to own it. So you must use the trademark for your services or products. An attorney can give you direction on how the trademark business works.
After your trademark has been registered, it will last for about ten years. There are periodic requirements that must be met to keep your trademark registered. Since trademarks are territorial, it will only be effective in the United States. However, you're able to file an “International Application”, which will allow you to register your trademark across seas. Before you're able to do this, you must have a qualified application pending or approved. It usually costs a couple hundred dollars to have your trademark registered, and depending on where you live, it can be around $1,500 to receive assistance from a trademark attorney.
Now that you understand how to trademark your business's brand, you should have no problems getting everything sorted out. Until you have registered your trademark, you can use the common law rights to protect your logos, business name and/or product.
When you start growing your brand, you should consider doing nice things for your loyal customers. For instance, you can send them personalized gifts from Edible Arrangements. As a brand, your focus should be on retaining customers just as much as it is on gaining new ones!