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8 Crucial Things to Consider Before Applying for a Trademark

Turning a great idea into a business reality comes with many considerations. I say this based on my personal experience, having failed at first, but finally succeeding with my biggest win to date.

To make a long story short, in 1996 I went to see the movie Jerry Maguire. Shortly afterwards, I successfully trademarked the phrase “Show Me The Money”. You can read the full story here.

If you have a logo, name or slogan that you’d like to protect then starting the search and registration process is where I can help.

Before you start your search there are many questions that you may have.  I’ve listed the top eight things to consider before applying for a trademark below.


#1 What is a trademark?

This may seem like an obvious question but it’s important to clarify what constitutes a trademark.  

A trademark name applies to any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods.  In short, a trademark name is a brand name.

This means that if you have a great business idea, product or service that you’d like to protect, registering your trademark is essential.

"Trademarks Etc. is a great company to work with. They are extremely knowledgeable, reliable, affordable, and easy to work with. I would highly recommend Trademarks Etc. to anyone." 

Vanessa Rivers
CEO of Happy Endingz Lingerie


#2 What is a service mark?

By registering a service mark you are protecting any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

One of our clients is Shake Smart.  They have started a chain of healthy smoothie stores in the service industry.


#3 What is the difference between a trademark and a copyright?

Trademark and copyright registrations both protect intellectual property. The main difference between a trademark and a copyright is that for the former you are protecting a name, logo or slogan and for the latter you are protecting a work of art such as a song, book or screenplay.

One of our most successful clients is Pura Vida Bracelets

The company was started by 2 individuals who went to Costa Rica on a surf trip to celebrate their graduation from San Diego State University.  There they met 2 brothers who were selling fun, affordable, and colorful bracelets on the beach.  Impressed with the product line, they bought several hundred of them and brought them back to sell in San Diego.  After doing this a few times, they now import tens of thousands of these bracelets and sell them in over 4,000 stores around the world.  Read their incredible story here:


#4 What is the difference between a trademark and a patent?

 A patent is an invention of some sort. This is entirely different from a trademark.  You may need to register both, depending on what you are doing.

The Hoover vacuum is a good example. The trademark protects the Hoover brand name and the patent protects the invention itself.


#5 Am I required to register a trademark?

It’s not a legal requirement to register a trademark, but it’s not a bad idea to protect your property.  It’s advisable that you protect your trademark so that someone else does not claim it at a later date.


#6 How long do trademark registrations last?

You will need to renew your trademark after the 5th year and before the 6th year of the date of registration.  The trademark will then need to be renewed after the 9th year and before the 10th year.  From that point, trademarks need to be renewed every 10 years.


#7 How long does it take for the trademark to come through?

From start to finish the whole process takes between eight and twelve months. You can, however, use the name right away if you are certain that no one else is using it, or if you are certain you started using it first.  You can put a TM by the name right away and then the “R with a circle” as soon as it is registered.


#8 Can I sell my trademark?

Yes, this can be done when businesses are sold and the trademark is included as part of the transaction. The trademark office has an assignment form and division whereby a trademark owner can transfer ownership to another party.


Get the process started

If you would like to start the process of registering your trademark you’ll need to determine if the name or slogan you wish to trademark is available.

We will conduct our comprehensive search for $209 and email search results back to you within 2 business days. Get started.



We offer full federal and state searches across the USA in all 50 states and our pricing is the most competitive in the industry.




Prepare your application. Our specialized trademark attorney will prepare and file your application.



Why Trademarks Etc.?

Because we do it right the first time.

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