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Requirements for Registering a Trademark

Only the mark owner may file an application for federal registration with the USPTO.  A mark owner is someone who controls the use of the mark and the nature and quality of the goods to which it is affixed, or the services for which it is used.  A mark owner can be an individual, a corporation, a partnership or any other legal entity.

Every application must provide an address for correspondence, a depiction of the mark (“the drawing”), an accurate description of goods or services to which the mark will be affixed, a basis for filing (for use-based applications, a tangible specimen is required), and a non-refundable filing fee.

A depiction of the mark (“the drawing”) is a clear image of the mark and there are two types.  A standard character drawing is for marks with only words and letters with no design or stylization, so this type of drawing will provide broader protection.  A special form drawing is applicable to marks with designs or logos where the applicant must upload an image of the mark in a .jpg format.  Unless the color is also being claimed as a feature of the mark (this also means that the color is a non functional feature, as discussed above in question one), then the uploaded image should be in black and white.

The basis for filing must be based on the current use of the mark in commerce or on a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce in the future (usually within a reasonable amount of time).  If the applicant is already transporting, selling or using their goods with the mark affixed upon them between U.S. states or between the U.S. and another country, then the basis for their application is “use in commerce”.  A specimen is a sample of how the mark will be used with the goods, or for services, showing how the mark will be used in connection with advertising or providing the services.

If the applicant has not yet begun to use the mark “in commerce”, then he/she must use the bona fide intent to use basis and must show good faith intent by providing some documentation of something more sound than a mere idea (i.e. a business plan or from some initial business activities).


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