Two recommended tools to determine if your approval is likely, reduce chances of rejection, and create a stronger trademark.

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