How to Trademark and Protect your Business

Maybe you’re not interested in protecting your businesses name, logo design or slogan but you might be interested in how prospective customers perceive your business? If you are, read on. Here is a run down on what you can and cannot use in regards to trademark symbols prior to registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. ℠ Service Marks can be used without registration for businesses, which provide services. ™ Trademark can be used as well without registration for businesses, which provide products or services.

If you claim rights to use a mark, you may use the “TM” or “SM” designation to alert the public to your claim of ownership of the mark, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, you may only use the federal registration symbol “®” after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending.

For me personally when I notice that trademark symbol on a company’s business card or letter head or even their website, I psychologically perceive them as a more serious and established business. Now either you can apply for the registration on your own, hire an Intellectual Property Attorney or use some of these online services, which can assist in the process as well. We recommend MyCorporation and LegalZoom as the preferred choices.

Here are also some reads that might help you to make a decision on what direction you take. Patents, Copyrights & Trademarks For Dummies , The Trademark Guide. Do yourself a favor and if nothing else, slap a TM or SM symbol on all of your intellectual property while you are deciding to register or not. In closing here is the 2014 Fee Schedule for filing. Take your business seriously and others will perceive it as serious as too.


  1. Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s claim.

  2. Evidence of ownership of the trademark.

  3. Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.

  4. Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.

  5. Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.