Ever wonder about the little ® and ™ after most logos and brandmarks? A ® is an indicator that a mark has been registered with a national trademark office. A circle R has more legal rights in a trademark infringement case. A TM is an indicator that a mark is unregistered and can be used to let people know that the mark is in the registration process. When a mark becomes registered by the USPTO, United States Patent and Trademark Office, usually after 10-12 months of filing, then the ® symbol is used for both trademarks and service marks.
In December of 2009, I designed and opened my online shop, finch&hawk. Before I launched my shop, I wanted to secure, protect and register my logo. I wanted exclusive rights and ownership of the name. Today, freelance101 will focus on my personal trademark journey, the "how to" steps for applying for a trademark and will provide some helpful links to assist you.
Personal note :: You can either file by yourself or through an Intellectual Property Attorney. I filed online, without an attorney, alongside a Vale Design client who was also filing online. We figured 2 heads were better than one and helped each other through each online page. If you are nervous, have someone else sit with you to make sure you are reading and understanding ALL the legal jargon. Also, I am not sure if you would be able to file as just an individual. You may need to at least be filing as a SOLE PROPRIETOR or LLC or DBA. The form will ask you for this information.
Keep reading for detailed steps and helpful links to guide you through the trademark process!