Disclaimer- I am not a lawyer. The following information is for informational purposes only. If you feel that you need legal counsel then please contact a BAR certified attorney. If you have any questions please contact your closest trademark attorney or visit legalzoom.com.
It’s 2016 and we are dead smack in the middle of a digital universe where anybody and everybody has a blog or website. How do you separate yourself from the other hundreds of thousands of bloggers?
Let’s start off with being official and there’s no better way to be “official” than by trademarking your blog.
Now, let’s turn your blog business into an LLC.
Reasons to trademark:
- Be selfish of your brand (you must be, it’s your “baby”and it needs to be treated as such)
- Protect your blogs name (no other competing companies can take ownership)
- Prevents confusion if multiple companies used the same or similar business names and/or logo.
- Declare exclusive rights to your name
- Protect and prevent companies from using your blogs/brands name for their own benefit
- DIY through LegalZoom
- DIY through USPTO’s website
- Hire a trademark attorney (this, of course, will run you about $500) — Trademark attorneys specialize in this! The cost of the application will run you another $275. If your application gets rejected, which will most likely be because you filed it wrong (duh!) or there’s an error. However, please remember that this $275 fee is non-refundable, so please take your time and file it correctly.
What do attorneys do?
- A full internet search to see how many other similar businesses have your name (no frauds allowed)
- A USPTO trademark search to see if anyone has registered the name
- A distinctive evaluation
- They process the application for you
- Any non-advertised office actions — mailing, questions, appeals etc. (but, with their intensive research and expertise knowledge, they will know beforehand if the application may get
You may notice that after your attorney does the initial search on the USPTO trademark search that your mark is distinctive enough to be registered (woop!) however, they may find one or multiple blog names matching yours (well, they say great minds think alike, right?)
Some of these blogs may have been started before yours, but then abandoned (a story many know all too well) however, they may not be trademarked with USPTO which is great because there’s a high chance of your registration not being blocked (woop! woop!). — BUT! they may have priority over the mark which means they might be able to prevent you from using your mark in the state where their blog is based out of and other areas as well (whomp whomp) — So let’s say Monica in Boston has a blog named “thisiswhyiblog”, you wouldn’t be able to take them down for use of your mark because their blog was created before yours.
- 2-3 months for USPTO to review your application (if there are no office actions; questions, appeals etc.)
- Your trademark application is published for public review for approx. 60-days for anyone to view. If anyone opposes it, then you must go through an appeal process
- If no one opposes, your mark will be registered in approx. 3 1/2 months
On Going Fees:
There will be a “renewal” fee every…
- And then every 10yrs thereafter
Trademarks are good for as long as you use the mark and the registration is good for as long as you maintain the maintenance fees.
™ vs ®:
™: This is used for an unregistered trademark (use this while your trademark is being processed)
®: This is the stamp for officially registered trademarks and can be used anywhere.
Good luck on becoming officially trademarked and taking your blog to the next level!!