Filing a Federal Trademark Application FAQ

How does a trademark qualify for federal registration?

Related Ads

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

Questions:

Answer:

How does a trademark qualify for federal registration?

To register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the trademark's owner first must use it in "interstate commerce." This means the mark must be used on a product or service that crosses state, national, or territorial lines, or that affects commerce crossing such lines -- for example, an Internet business or a restaurant or motel that caters to interstate or international customers.

The trademark owner must also be able to answer "no" to all of the following questions:

  • Is the trademark the same as or similar to an existing mark used on similar or related goods or services?
  • Is the trademark on the list of prohibited or reserved names?
  • Is the trademark generic -- that is, does the mark describe the product itself rather than its source?
  • Is the trademark too descriptive (not distinctive enough) to qualify for protection?

For information on distinctiveness vs. descriptiveness, see Nolo's Qualifying for Trademark Protection FAQ.

Get Informed

Empower yourself with our plain-English information

Do It Yourself

Handle routine tasks with our products

Find a Lawyer

Connect with a local lawyer who meets your needs

The fastest, easiest way to find, choose, and connect to intellectual property lawyers

LA-NOLO3:DRU.1.6.3.20141021.28794