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How can I trademark a name?

A trademark is a way of identifying the source of any good or service in the market.  It can be a single word, a phrase, logo, symbol, image, design, or any combination thereof.  Ideally, you want to register your trademark in every country in which you currently conduct business or plan to do business. The process of registering your trademark varies depending on the country in which you are selling products and services.   In many territories, you have the option to register a trademark strictly in that country or you can file a registration that covers several territories at once.   There are multiple international agreements in place which govern how trademarks and other intellectual properties are protected from country to country.   

A single registration can be secured to cover multiple jurisdictions specified by the applicant using what is called the “Madrid system for the international registration of marks.” Using this template, other treaties have been developed to facilitate systematized processes for registering and protecting intellectual property in multiple countries at once. For instance, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization allows members of English-speaking African nations to file a single registration for trademark protection in multiple member countries.  

Within the European Union, mark owners can apply with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to receive a trademark of the European Union (EUTM), which protects trademarks and service marks in member countries of the European Union. However, it is important to note that this application is an unitary right and an objection against it in any of the member states, nullifies the whole application.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is responsible for granting trademarks to mark owners within the United States. U.S. applicants conducting business within the United States who wish to register their mark can do so through the Trademark Operation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Generally, an applicant will secure an intellectual property attorney to conduct a thorough search of the trademark records to ensure the proposed mark is not already in registered.  Once the search is complete, a trademark registration can be submitted for review.  The process of having a trademark granted for a mark can take several months to finalize.

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