This week I’m doing a favor for my brother. He has a really good idea for a State Fair food – and we want to protect the idea as much as possible. A patent seemed like overkill, but we figured a trademark might set up an obstacle to anyone wanting to pick up his idea.
The US Patent and Trademark Office is the place to go to learn about and process a trademark registration. Their site is very user-friendly! Below are the things I learned and process I went through:
- The fee for the most basic trademark – with one intended purpose – is $335.
- Step One – search the trademark database to make sure that no one has already trademarked your term, symbol, or design
- Find the form you need online. I found the form for new trademarks quickly.
- The forms are template-based and it’s very easy to click on the links for more info (and back to the form) when you have a question.
- You will need to submit a “specimen” of your trademark. A specimen is an actual example of how you are using the mark in commerce on or in connection with the identified goods and/or services. (It sounds as if a .jpg picture of packaging will work; a business card will not.)
Our stopper was issue number 5 – but once we have a specimen, we will be going back to the USPTO site to complete the online trademark form.
So there you go – time to start thinking of ideas and product names that are worth trademarking!