An essential step to building your brand is trademarking your intellectual property (IP). IP licenses provide product and service differentiation and legal protection. Unfortunately, IP licensing is a step many small businesses skip. In this blog, we explore how to obtain a trademark license for your business.
#1 Identify Your IP Need
You may require more than one trademark, and more than one type of IP protection. So, the first step is to identify your needs. For speed and efficiency, many businesses hire a trademark attorney.
The 4 types of IPs are:
Trademarks protect logos, symbols, business names, slogans, product names, and logo and symbol colors.
Patents protect inventions for design, utility, and even new strains of plants.
Copyrights protect written work, speeches, poems, songs, and tangible works of art.
Trade secrets protect high-value formulas, recipes, and processes.
The next step is conducting a trademark clearance search as there may be another business that has trademarked the name you desire. Or whose logo is similar to yours. They may be in your industry or state, or in another industry or state.
As innovative as you were in creating the perfect name or design, there may be something similar out there. This reason alone is enough to hire a trademark expert.
#3 Fill Out and Submit Your Application
Now it’s time to fill out your application and submit your application fee to the United States Patent and Trademark Office® (USPTO). Application fees are $250 or $350 each depending on the type of trademark. This does not include the fee for your attorney or expert.
The fee is non-refundable, so if your trademark is not registered you don’t get your money back.
#4 Corresponding With the USPTO
We can’t discuss how to obtain a trademark license, without covering the correspondence phase. After submitting your application, a serial number and examining USPTO attorney will be assigned.
The examining attorney will either approve, deny, or request a minor application correction. If you don’t respond to your correction request within 90 days of being issued, your application will be automatically denied.
#5 Receive and Maintain
Once a trademark is issued, you must maintain it. This includes trademark renewal every 10 years. The initial process is likely to take between 12 and 18 months. Renewal may only take a few months.
Do I Really Need to Hire an Attorney?
Time is money, and errors cost money. If your application is denied, it will be at least another year before your trademark is approved. Working with an attorney drastically improves your odds of approval.
An attorney also:
Advises on trademark and IP needs.
Performs a nationwide trademark clearance search.
Performs an international trademark clearance search.
Prepares and submit your IP application.
Corresponds with the USPTO on your behalf.
Enforces and maintains trademarks and other IPs.
Represents you during trademark and IP violations.
How Else Can TEK REMEDY Help?
Now that you understand how to obtain a trademark license, we are happy to design your branded graphics for you! We can design your symbols and logos, we provide full-service digital marketing, and we offer small business and startup consulting. Our blog is also filled with tips for startups and small businesses. Let’s get started!
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