How to trademark your product or business name in the U.S. by using pre-qualification tools to minimize risk and reduce application costs.

By Product Dragon—Nonprofit helping ethical product innovators

Trademarks are very important for doing ethical and legal business in the U.S. Acquiring a registered trademark gives a business security against competitors and accidental infringement.

Registered marks give protection against out-of-state and even foreign competitors, allowing you to block competitor’s marketing and product imports within the U.S.

This article covers how to determine if registration is possible for your brand, and how to get started.

Important: Check if you even qualify for a U.S. trademark

Trademark qualification score

A good first step to protecting your brand name is to assess your eligibility before using any registration service. The free Trademark Application Qualification System (TAQS) is a fast way to gain clarity on your approval likelihood, cost and timelines, and application suggestions. After answering several multiple-choice questions, a score and report are generated for you.

A score above 75 suggests your prospects are generally good for securing and maintaining a strong U.S. registered trademark.

Federal Protect provides the report at no charge to visitors from Product Dragon, including optional free consultation with a U.S. trademark attorney.

Risks of trademark rejection

Over 60 percent of US trademark applications are rejected, so the risk is worth considering. A major cause of rejection is when a brand (or the specific usage of a brand) was not eligible for trademark protection to begin with. Rejection can happen for several other reasons, and you would typically lose your application and attorney fees.

A rushed application can also result in a weak trademark filing. This raises the possibility of a formal objection by another party holding a similar brand mark. The objection can block your application, or create an expensive legal conflict years later.

The best ways to apply for a U.S. trademark

If you’re willing to learn the process and accept the risks, then self-filing (if you are a U.S. citizen) is an option. You may also consider the many online filing services, which are typically inexpensive, but don’t conduct eligibility checks or provide support if additional legal actions are required.

If your trademark is important to you then a sensible approach is first conducting a quick pre-qualification assessment, and then having an experienced trademark attorney manage your filing. An attorney can reply to requests by the USPTO examiners (called “office actions”), and guide you through any objections or complications that may arise.

How long does TM application take?

The initial examination wait time (“first action”) is currently around 8.5 months, and the entire process takes about 14.6 months if there are no significant complications (source: USPTO). Approval delays are more common when applicants have not adequately prepared documentation of their brand usage and related documentation.

Free Pre-qualification assessments

To mitigate application risks and reduce average application time, getting pre-qualified in advance of application is recommended. The eligibility report can indicate application weaknesses and provide improvement suggestions to strengthen your filing with a qualified attorney.

Want Fast Trademark Help?
Get Free Tools.

As part of our nonprofit mission, Product Dragon offers free trademark registration tools and professional help to entrepreneurs and small businesses.


Join our Brand Builder program for immediate free assistance: