Incoming clients often ask, “How do I trademark a business name?” To trademark a business name, one must first ensure that the proposed name is available by having a trademark lawyer perform a trademark clearance or trademark availability assessment. A trademark clearance is intended to (1) ensure that the proposed business name is available through a search of common law uses; (2) ensure that the proposed business name is available through a search of the US Patent and Trademark Office TESS database; and (3) provide the client with an analysis of the business name’s strength and likelihood of success in obtaining registration with the US Patent and Trademark Office. This first step is important, as it reduces the client’s risk of a potential trademark opposition or trademark infringement lawsuit and increases the chances that the client’s business name will achieve trademark registration.
Once a business name has been cleared for registration, the next step in trademarking a business name is to file for trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This entails selecting the appropriate International Classes for registration, that is, the appropriate goods and services classes, and completing the trademark application. Once the application is filed by a trademark attorney and the USPTO assigns an examining attorney to examine the trademark application, your attorney will continue to monitor the application’s progress and respond to any substantive or non-substantive Office Actions, which may be issued by the examining attorney and, if ignored, may prevent the successful registration of your trademark. Provided these hurdles are overcome, you will receive trademark registration, on average, between 10 to 18 months after filing. Your priority to use the trademark, however, will date back to the filing date of your application.