Legal Criteria For Registering Your Trademark

For filing a trademark (or service mark) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there are four essential legal requirements:

  1. The trademark must be applied for in the name of the real owner. The person who controls the type and quality of the goods sold or services supplied under the trademark is known as the trademark owner. An individual can be the owner. A partnership, company, or organization can also be the owner. If the owner is a company, the applicant’s name is the name of the corporation.
  2. The applicant must state the sort of entity it is (person, business, etc.) as well as its nationality. The applicant does not necessarily have to be a citizen of the United States, but everyone must indicate him, or her citizenship on a trademark application.
  3. The application must be based on actual use of the trademark or genuine intent to utilize the brand in commerce.
  • For applications based on actual use, the applicant should specify which goods he or she has used the trademark on and sold in commerce. When a trademark for services is used or shown in the sale or advertising of services and the services are really given, it is deemed in “actual use.”
  • If you file an “Intent-To-Use” application, you must make a good faith statement that you intend to use the trademark in commerce. However, before you can register a trademark, you must first utilize it. Once you’ve used your trademark, you’ll need to file a “Statement of Use/Amendment to Allege Use” paperwork.
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This document can be filed on or before the day the examiner authorizes your trademark for publication (in which case your submission is referred to as an “Amendment to Allege Use”), or after the mailing of your Notice of Allowance.


If you choose to file after receiving your Notice of Allowance (in which case your document will be referred to as a “Statement of Use”), you have 6 months to do so or request an extension of time to file. The USPTO will only register your trademark following this submission.

  1. When the application is based on actual usage, you must include a sketch of the trademark as well as a specimen of the trademark. A specimen is a real-life example of how the trademark is used on goods or in relation to a service. Labels, tags, or containers for goods are regarded as appropriate examples of trademark usage. Specimens for a service mark maybe advertising, such as magazine ads or brochures. Labels and package photos are examples of acceptable specimens. An “ornamental use” of the trademark, such as an image on the front of a t-shirt, is not an acceptable specimen unless it is accompanied by something like a hang-tag, demonstrating real usage in commerce. The specimens must be flat and no more than 812″ x 11″ in size. DVDs, CDs and similar media are also accepted.

A drawing is a page that displays the trademark that you are attempting to register. The artwork in an application based on actual usage must depict the trademark as it is really used (i.e., as shown by the specimens). For applications based on Intent To Use, the artwork must depict the trademark in the manner in which the applicant intends to use it. Even if a specimen is presented, a drawing is required.