How to get pre-qualified for a product or business trademark prior to investing in full registration

By Product Dragon—Nonprofit helping ethical product innovators

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 80% suggests your prospects are generally good for securing and maintaining a strong U.S. registered trademark, and the trademark is suitable for your business goals.

While this is a free non-legal assessment, checking your trademark score in advance of application may mitigate rejection risk. Your report can indicate application weaknesses and provide improvement suggestions to strengthen your filing with a qualified 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. Please be aware there is a significant chance of making a technical or strategic application error on your initial or supplementary filings if you are not experienced.

You may also consider online filing services, which are inexpensive ($400 to $1000 plus government fees), but may not conduct eligibility checks, and typically charge extra fees if additional 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.

Registration guarantee option

A major concern in the trademarking process for entrepreneurs is cost and the uncertainty of rejection. A trademark guarantee program is now available from an established program that maintains over 99% success rate.

This is the only trademark program we are aware of that offers a flat-