How To Trademark A Design?

How To Trademark A Design?

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Trademarking a design is a crucial step in protecting your intellectual property and ensuring that your unique creations remain exclusively yours. This blog will guide you through the process of trademarking a design, including the benefits, costs, and necessary steps involved.

Why Trademark Your Design?

Trademarking your design grants you the exclusive right to use it in connection with your products or services. This legal protection helps prevent others from using a similar design that could cause confusion among your customers. For example, if you create a distinctive logo for your fashion brand, trademarking it ensures that no other brand can legally use a design that closely resembles yours. By trademarking your design, you ensure that you have exclusive rights to use it in commerce. This exclusivity is vital in a competitive market where brand differentiation is key. For instance, Apple’s logo is trademarked, giving the company exclusive rights to use the iconic apple symbol in relation to its products, thereby maintaining a strong and unique brand identity.

A registered trademark adds significant value to your brand. It is a tangible asset that enhances your overall business worth. This can be particularly important if you plan to license your design, sell your business, or seek investment. A trademarked design adds credibility and can attract potential investors or partners.

Registering a trademark for your design demonstrates professionalism and a serious commitment to your brand. It shows that you are dedicated to protecting your creative work, which can enhance your reputation and build trust with your customers, partners, and investors.

Rebranding can be a costly and time-consuming process. By trademarking your design early on, you can avoid the potential expenses associated with rebranding if another business claims your design or a similar one. This foresight can save you significant time and money in the long run.

If you plan to expand your business, having a trademark provides legal protection in other areas as well. Whether you’re launching new products, entering new markets, or creating a franchise, a trademark ensures your design is protected across various platforms and products.

How to Trademark a Design?

Trademarking a design involves several steps. Each step is crucial to ensure that your application is successful and that your design is adequately protected.

Step 1: Decide How to File

Before starting the trademarking process, decide how you want to file your application. You have three main options:

Direct Filing with USPTO

File directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This option is the most cost-effective but requires you to handle all aspects of the application yourself.

Online Legal Services

Use online legal services that specialize in trademark registrations. These websites can simplify the process and ensure that your application is correctly filed.

Hiring a Trademark Attorney

Hire a trademark attorney to handle the process for you. This option is the most expensive but provides expert guidance and increases the likelihood of a successful application.

Step 2: Review the Current Fee Schedule

The USPTO updates its fee schedule periodically. Before submitting your application, review the current fees to understand the costs involved. Being aware of the fees upfront helps you budget for the trademarking process and avoid surprises.

Step 3: Conduct a Thorough Search

Conduct a search in the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to ensure that no similar trademarks are already registered. This step is crucial to avoid potential legal issues and application rejection.

Tips for a Comprehensive Search:

Search Variations: Look for different variations of your design, including common misspellings and similar visual elements.

Related Classes: Check for similar designs in related classes of goods or services.

Review Abandoned Trademarks: Understand why previous trademarks were abandoned, as this can provide valuable insights.

Step 4: Prepare Your Application

File your trademark application through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Here’s what you’ll need to include in your application:

Statement of Use: A declaration that you are using the design in commerce.

Examples of Use: Evidence showing that you are using the design, such as product labels, packaging, or promotional materials.

Trademark Drawing: A visual representation of the trademark. This should be a clear and precise image of your design.

Specimen of Use: A sample showing how the trademark is used in the marketplace. This could be a label, packaging, or an advertisement.

Filing Fee: The cost associated with filing your application.

Step 5: Monitor and Enforce Your Trademark

Once you have successfully trademarked your design, it is essential to actively monitor and enforce your trademark rights.

Monitor Your Trademark

Regularly check the marketplace and online platforms to ensure that no one is using your trademarked design without permission. Set up alerts and periodically review relevant sites to stay informed about potential infringements.

Take Action Against Infringement

If you discover unauthorized use of your design, take immediate action. Here’s how to handle infringement:

Cease and Desist Letter: Send a formal letter demanding that the infringer stop using your trademarked design.

Negotiation: If the infringer responds, you may be able to reach a resolution, such as stopping use or agreeing to a licensing arrangement.

Legal Action: If necessary, consult with a trademark attorney and consider filing a lawsuit for trademark infringement.

Costs of Trademarking a Design

The cost to trademark a design varies depending on the filing option you choose. Here are the three basic options provided by the USPTO:

Direct Filing Fees

When you file directly with the USPTO’s TEAS, you can choose from three basic options:


Basic Filing Fee: $250 per class of goods or services.

Additional Class Fee: $125 for each additional class.

Email Communications: Required for further communications.

TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF)

Basic Filing Fee: $275 per class of goods or services.

Additional Class Fee: $125 for each additional class (payable later).

Email Communications: Required for further communications.

TEAS Regular

Basic Filing Fee: $350 per class of goods or services.

Additional Class Fee: Fees apply for adding classes of goods and services.

Additional Costs

Beyond the basic filing fees, you might incur additional costs if you hire a trademark attorney or use a legal website for assistance. These costs can vary widely, so choose the option that best fits your budget and needs.

Renewal and Maintenance of Your Trademark

Trademarks are not indefinite and must be renewed periodically to maintain their legal protection. The USPTO requires you to file maintenance documents at specific intervals to keep your trademark registration active. Here are the key renewal periods:

  • Between the 5th and 6th Year: File a Declaration of Continued Use or Excusable Nonuse.
  • Between the 9th and 10th Year: File a Combined Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal.
  • Every 10 Years Thereafter: Continue to file a Combined Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal.

Failure to file these maintenance documents can result in the cancellation of your trademark registration.

Famous Trademarked Designs

Trademarking designs is a common practice among companies to protect their brand identity and ensure that their unique elements remain exclusively theirs. Here are some famous designs that have been successfully trademarked, showcasing the importance of this legal protection in maintaining brand recognition and value.

Coca-Cola Bottle Shape

The distinctive contour bottle shape of Coca-Cola is trademarked, making it one of the most famous and easily identifiable designs in the beverage industry. This unique bottle design has been protected to prevent imitation, helping Coca-Cola maintain its brand’s visual identity and market position.

Burberry Check Pattern

The Burberry check pattern is a classic example of a trademarked design in the fashion industry. This distinctive plaid design is synonymous with luxury and high fashion. Trademark protection ensures that no other fashion brands can use a similar pattern, thereby preserving Burberry’s brand integrity and exclusivity.

Tiffany Blue Box

Tiffany & Co.’s signature blue box is a trademarked design that represents luxury and sophistication. The specific shade of blue, known as Tiffany Blue, is protected under trademark law, ensuring that no other jewelry company can use a similar packaging design. This protection helps maintain Tiffany & Co.’s unique brand image.

Lego Brick Design

Lego’s interlocking brick design is a trademarked element that is crucial to the brand’s identity. The distinctive shape and function of Lego bricks are protected to prevent other toy manufacturers from producing similar products, ensuring that Lego remains the leader in the construction toy market.

Adidas Three Stripes

Adidas has trademarked its iconic three-stripe design, which appears on a wide range of its products, from shoes to apparel. This simple yet powerful design element is protected to prevent other sports brands from using a similar motif, helping Adidas maintain its brand recognition and market position.

Reach Out To Us!

Trademarking your design is a vital step in protecting your brand and ensuring its uniqueness in the marketplace. By understanding the benefits, following the correct steps, and being prepared to enforce your trademark rights, you can ensure that your design remains protected and exclusively yours.  If you have any questions or need assistance with trademarking your design, our team of experts is here to help.