While applying for a trademark at the USPTO is important, it’s not required. The “use” of a particular mark is the starting point and often, the determining factor. If you have used a particular brand in your marketing and sales, it becomes your mark, if you want it.
Here’s what to do next:
- If you want to secure it, use the ™ symbol next to it at least in its first appearance on each flyer, web page, email or other use.
- Next, do the research in Google and USPTO.gov to see if the mark is in use. If a good product uses your mark and you make shoes, this is not a conflicting use.
- Finally, read this https://www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp and apply for your trademark.
BEFORE FILING AN APPLICATION (from the link above)
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
What is a service mark?
A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term trademark is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
What is a patent?
A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. For more information, click here.
What is a copyright?
A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. For more information, contact the U.S. Copyright Office (a division of the Library of Congress).
What is a certification mark?
A certification mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by one party who certifies the goods and services of others when they meet certain standards. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a certification mark is to indicate that certain standards have been met, use of the mark is by others.
What is a collective membership mark?
A collective membership mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof which indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a particular organization. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a membership mark is to indicate membership, use of the mark is by members.
What is a collective mark?
A collective mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization and used by its members to indicate the source of the goods or services.
Where can I get basic trademark information?
For information about applying for a trademark, click Basic Facts About Trademarks, and view the trademark videos that cover important topics and critical application filing tips. To understand what to expect in the overall process, view the timelines for trademark processing. If you still have questions, contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199.
Must I register my trademark?
No. You can establish rights in a mark based on use of the mark in commerce, without a registration. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several important benefits.
Trademarks have many benefits but with them comes responsibility. Getting a trademark secured is only half the battle. Once you do, you must defend it. When someone infringes on your trademark, you must take action. This can be a costly endeavor and one should consider whether they have the resources prior to securing a mark. Intended or actual use may be sufficient.
After your trademark is approved by the USPTO, you may now use the ®.