If you are a business owner and use a material in the creation of goods and services that is unique to your brand, getting a trademark is essential. A trademark protects you from the legal difficulties that can arise when doing business without one—conflicts with existing businesses, lawsuits, fines, and more—and it’s one of the first things you should do when starting a company.
No matter what kind of trademark you are looking at getting, you’ll have to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The steps of acquiring a building material trademark will take you through the same USPTO application process as any other trademark applicant:
Before you begin the trademark process, you should consider if your service, materials, or brand would benefit from one and if you actually need one.
In the application process, you will need to submit information about the goods and services that the trademark falls under. Building materials are class 19 of the trademark categories, and you will need to tell the USPTO that you are applying for the trademark of that type. Because it is a physical object, you could be required to submit a physical specimen, an individual design, and information regarding the logo.
Trademarks protect logos, brand names, and other designs associated with goods and services. If your goods have a specific name or if you are tagging them with a specific design, you might need a trademark, a copyright claim, or simply a business name.
You should check your state’s law and, if possible, contact a law firm associated with the USPTO to get confirmation that you will need a trademark beforehand, as it is a lengthy process.
When you apply for a trademark, you will need to supply information about the intellectual property and provide the design as well for trademarking. You should focus your research into answering two questions before you apply for a trademark:
The number one mistake that businesses new to the trademarking process make is providing an impossible or difficult-to-trademark design. Talking to a trademark attorney after you have a design in mind can ensure that you don’t waste months of the application time only to have to start over because the mark was denied due to the difficulty of publication. You can also check on the USPTO government website for information on what marks they accept and their rules regarding new trademarks.
The USPTO will only register your mark and help publicize it in a way that conflicting marks that already exist can dispute it. You should ensure that your mark is unique beforehand, as the USPTO does NOT enforce trademarks—they only register them.
Once you have your basic information and a design drawn out, you can submit your application to the USPTO.
To submit your application, you will have to go to the UTSPO.gov website and set up an account with them. You can then submit the application through their website and monitor the application status through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system.
After you have submitted your application, the USPTO will assign someone to your case who will approve or deny your trademark application. These trademark attorneys who work as examiners will look at your application to decide if you can continue through with the process.
Their examination will include a general search for other similar trademarks, ensuring the fee has been paid, and checking that all of the documentation required is present.
After they have confirmed the information, they will decide whether you are approved or denied. Approved applicants can continue on to the publication phase, while those who were denied will receive a call, email, or letter depending on the changes needed. If minor changes to the application are required, you and your attorney (if you have one) may receive calls/emails, which may be corrected without having to go through the full process again.
If the refusal is major, you will receive a letter with reasons for refusal, which requires office action. You will have six months to respond to the office letter before your application is considered abandoned and you will have to resubmit with all the fees included.
All fees during the application process are non-refundable—even in the event of denial later in the process.
Once you are approved, the USPTO will publicize your mark in the “Official Gazette,” which is their official weekly publication with all of the new trademarks listed. Other businesses with their own trademarks will have 30 days to dispute your trademark if they believe it is conflicting with their own. In the case of a dispute, you will have to go through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), who will decide the outcome of the trademarks.
When the 30 days are over, most of the official proceedings are done. You’ll need to wait about 8 weeks after the publication for the USPTO to send you an official notice that you can use your trademark.
All that is left now is to maintain your trademark. You’ll have access to a number of documents regarding the cancellation, usage, and various other forms on the USPTO website that pertain to the maintenance of your trademark. You should look through these, once your application has gone through, to ensure there are no other documents that you need to fill out for your trademark to be considered live.
When you are starting your business or undergoing a rebrand, securing a lawyer that specializes in trademarks, copyrights, and patents can significantly boost your chances of success. These intellectual property lawyers are experts in the USPTO process who can save you months (if not years) of time waiting for your trademark. Four Reasons Legal offers free 30-minute phone consultations to explain the trademarking process and go over what you should do with your case. Contact us to get your trademarking process started today.