Should I Get a Trademark?
A trademark is protection for a name, phrase or image associated with your brand. Unlike patent or copyright protection, trademark protection begins when you actually use the mark in commerce.
The mark also has to be distinctive. You cannot trademark the word "hamburgers" for your hamburger stand. You might, however, be able to trademark "Joe's Boston Hamburgers," if nobody else is using it.
You have common law trademark protection as soon as you begin using a distinctive mark in commerce (again, assuming nobody else is already using it). Filing for a formal registered trademark gives you protection across the United States, and clearer rights to enforce your trademark.
The first step is to see if anyone else has filed for a trademark on the name or phrase you want to use. You can research this at the USPTO.
The actual application requires you to identify the correct category of your trademark, and submit evidence of use in commerce. This is the step whether the advice of an attorney is particularly helpful, to make sure you are protected in the right business categories.
Learn more here about trademark basics.
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