US Trademark Applications – What You Need to Know

There are two applications for a United States trademark. The standard application is called the TEAS, or Trademark Electronic Application System. The alternate application form is the TEAS Plus and is only used in specific situations where the trademark applicant is qualified.

The two forms also carry a filing fee. The standard TEAS is $325 and covers most trademark applications. The TEAS Plus requires a $275 filing fee. This is a significant amount of money and is not normally reimbursed in the event of filing mistakes. Because of this condition, along with a reduction in the amount of time to receive a license, it is always a good idea to retain an intellectual property attorney to make sure all information is accurate, comprehensive, and timely.

It is also important to understand that a United States trademark is only effective in the United States. International trademark licensing is a different process and also carries a licensing fee. Trademarks that are issued in a single country are normally approved internationally by virtue of the information provided in the local jurisdiction issuance. This is another reason to make sure that information is accurate and comprehensive.

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Companies that are primarily interested in only United States markets need only to apply in the United States. The international applications are more of a one-stop shop for the applicants interested in global protection. Ownership of a trademark specifically in the United States only requires the standard application and the filing fee, which can be very cost-efficient based on the protection offered in an extensive economy. It is important for any company product trademark to be protected in the primary market, regardless of the company’s headquarters location.

Steps to establishing a trademark in the United States begin with identification of the need for trademark protection and then determining the necessity of an intellectual property attorney. Once the trademark is granted it needs to be protected. Attorneys assist in protection as well as procurement. Any case of possible infringement will require litigation and an attorney that is familiar with the product trademark protection is the most effective.

The next step is identifying the actual mark to be protected and state the intended use, or “basis”, of the trademark. Unlike copyrights and patents, U.S. trademarks are only registered for a five-year period. Trademarks are unique in the fact that they can be renewed by the applicant as long as they are actively using the mark in business operations.