Once you have finally decided on a brand, logo or symbol to represent your small business, you may want to protect that mark so that another business cannot use it. Trademark protection is not legally required; however, doing so allows you to take legal action should you find another company is using your mark. At this point, it is important to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure you have these rights. Before you fill out and submit an application, you will want to search the registry to ensure the mark has not already been registered by another business.
You can fill out a trademark registration online and include your information, the mark you wish to be registered and a description of the services or goods your company offers. The USPTO will contact you if more information is needed or it will officially display your mark. If another company believes it is too similar to a mark it is using or it opposes the mark for any reason, that company can contact the USPTO. If the mark is not opposed, it is yours to keep.
Be sure to pay your trademark renewal fees and continue to use the registered trademark symbol as much as possible following your logo or brand. You also need to monitor new trademarks to ensure no one uses your mark or one that looks similar to it. If you do find someone who is using a mark similar to yours, you can take legal action and impose infringement violations on that company.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.