Hi, friends! I thought I’d share about my experience trademarking my business name so if you’re considering doing the same, you know what to expect. I hope you find this information helpful. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This is simply what I learned about throughout my research and personal experience. Enjoy!
Why did I choose to trademark my business name?
For the simple fact that I don’t want anyone to take it. 🙂 I have invested so much of my heart and soul, time and money into this business and I would never want someone else to take that from me. Unless your business is your name, you should probably put some serious thought into protecting your business this way.
For me, it was pretty simple. I hired a lawyer, Michelle Burgess, Esquire, filled out some paper work and she did everything else. She sent me a few emails letting me know what stage of the process we were in, but other than that, it didn’t take any of my time or attention. Michelle handled everything and I can’t recommend her enough!
How Long Does the Process Take
I was expecting around 9 months to a year, but mine ended up taking only 7 months. That was because I hired a lawyer who knew the process, only filed for my business name, and didn’t have any rebuttals during the process. On average, it takes about a year.
The Difference Between the TM and the R
Since I lead Tuesdays Together DC/Alexandria, I had Michelle speak to our group when the monthly topic was “Legalizing Your Business.” (That’s actually how I got to know her.)
She covered a wide range of legal business topics and one of them was this – the difference between the TM and the R. After she explained that the TM means that you have filed for your trademark and the R means that it’s officially registered, I said “So the TM is like an engagement, taken but not legal. And the R is like you’re legally married.” We all giggled since most of us work in the wedding industry, but it is a really easy and true way to think about it.
While each lawyer’s fees can vary, you can expect to spend about $1,000.00. That’s the exact amount I paid and my lawyer is in Washington, D.C. That covered the application and professional filing fees. Another thing to consider is that the cost is going to be more if you have multiple filings. I only had one – my business name. (Side note: no matter where you are in the U.S., you can hire her for this service since it’s not state specific.)
From researching this process online and chatting with friends and family members who are either lawyers themselves or work at the Patent & Trademark Office, everyone agreed that paying a lawyer who specializes in this was key. This is not a DIY project or one for a lawyer who isn’t familiar with the process.
About a few months after Michelle submitted my application, I received a bill in the mail that looked official. It seemed like I owed more money for the trademarking process. Luckily, I didn’t pay it right away. Instead, I contacted my lawyer and she said not to pay it. I had already paid everything I needed to so it must be a scam. I don’t remember what the company name on the letter was, but I do remember the return address was in Miami. (That was another reason I thought it was official. Michelle is originally from there and still practices law there.) About a month or two later, I received another letter and then another. While I no longer have the letters, please know to expect them and don’t pay them. Always check with your lawyer first.
I hope that you take serious consideration in protecting your business name, logo/anything else you feel is truly unique and wouldn’t want taken from you. I encourage you to protect your investment and don’t try to legalize your business on your own. Hire a lawyer who specializes in trademarking. Interested in getting started with Michelle? You won’t regret it! Her law practice is “Burgess Law PLLC” and Instagram is @lawyerforcreatives. I’d love to hear from you if you’re getting started with the trademarking process! Best wishes, creative friend!