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Need to register your trademark? These are the steps

Registering a trademark is an important step business owners can take to protect their sources of income from predatory competitors and would-be copycats who might try to steal their customers by copying elements of a brand. Following the registration of a trademark via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), business owners benefit from a variety of protections -- most specifically brand and mark protection

Here's how to register a trademark:

  1. Decide whether registration is appropriate: By registering your brand, you can put an "®" symbol after your company's moniker. You can also license and sell your brand to others. Furthermore, no one will be permitted to use your brand without your express permission.
  2. Search to see if your trademark is available: It's vital to determine if someone else is already using your trademark. If it's not already registered, then you can move forward with your own registration of your mark.
  3. File a Federal Trademark Application: Follow the guidelines to file your trademark application. The application may be completed online; however, there are important guidelines -- in addition to fee requirements -- to which you must adhere.
  4. Wait. There will be a waiting period before a clerk assigns a number to your trademark case. If someone tries to state that you're infringing on their trademark in filing your application, you may require legal assistance.
  5. Maintain your registration: If you want to keep your trademark registration after approval, you'll need to follow several steps approximately once every 10 years to keep the registration.

Do you have a brand you need to protect from would-be competitors or copycats? A trademark registration could be the right path for you. By speaking with a trademark litigation lawyer, you can determine whether or not registration is appropriate for your needs.

Source: FindLaw, "Registering a Trademark," accessed Aug. 17, 2017

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