Branding Blog

Trademarks – Overview of the Registration Process

Written by Dale Berkebile | Tue, Dec 08, 2009

In a previous trademark article, we discussed the steps involved in acquiring rights in a trademark. Frequently, the owner of those rights may choose to seek the advantages of registering the trademark.

Typical steps involved in the
trademark registration process include:

  1. performing a search
  2. preparing and submitting the trademark application
  3. and responding to issues raised by the trademark office

During the process of creating trademarks, such as brand names or logos, a search should be initiated. A search based on your potential trademark is performed to minimize the chances of using a mark that is unavailable. If a similar mark is located, it may be prudent to create a different brand name or logo rather than proceed with that brand name in business or in a trademark application. The search can locate other possibly confusingly similar trademarks, as well as reducing other issues in the trademark registration process. The sources searched can vary, but may include trademark registries, company filings, company directories, product databases, trade journals or other sources.

After the search report is reviewed, an application may be submitted to the appropriate trademark office(s). In order to draft the trademark application, information on the mark will be gathered and analyzed. Some information under consideration will be a sample of the mark itself, how and where the mark is being used, who will own the rights in the mark, and evidence of use of the mark. This information will be used to draft and submit a trademark application.

In time, the trademark office will review the submitted trademark application. The trademark office will perform its own trademark search, as well as review the application for other compliance issues.

Common issues raised by the trademark offices include:

  • likelihood of confusion with other trademarks
  • descriptive marks
  • generic marks
  • merely ornamental marks
  • improper use as a source identifier 

The applicant needs to address the issues raised in the trademark application. If successful in addressing those issues, the applicant's mark will be registered.



This article was written by a strategic business partner of Brandwise.

John Lindsay is an intellectual property attorney focusing on patent, copyright, trademark, and technology law for startups
and small businesses. He can be reached at 214-736-4306 or His website is