An Entrepreneur’s Checklist – Filing Your Own Trademark

Can you file your own trademark

If you are reading this, you probably have already asked yourself, “Do I really need a trademark lawyer to file a trademark application?” Well, the short answer is –  No, you do not need a trademark lawyer to file your trademark application. Many of you may sigh with relief right now, but bear in mind, there are some stipulations accompanying this short answer.

So although you indeed can file your own trademark application, it just requires a tad bit of patience and preparation. Below we have outlined a checklist so you can familiarize yourself with what to expect and decide how to best prepare yourself to file your own trademark.

Let’s get started – you’ve got this!


1. Come up with something strong (distinctive) to trademark.

For starters, you cannot just trademark anything. The trademark will have to prove that it indeed distinguishes your product or service from your competition. See the “Spectrum of Distinctiveness” chart below to determine what makes your trademark distinctive. Remember this as a rule of thumb – the more distinctive your trademark, the more enforceable your trademark rights will be.



SEE ALSO: 7 Tips On How To Create A Strong (Distinctive) Trademark


2. Conduct a trademark search.

You will want to conduct a trademark search to see if the trademark you have chosen is available to trademark. offers a free trademark search where you can search against trademarks filed in the U.S. and internationally. If your word or mark happens to be available to trademark, you will be prompted to apply. In the worst case, the trademark you are trying for is already a registered trademark. It can be kind of disappointing to find this out, but it is better you find out now than never at all  – just go back to the drawing board and, with a little trial and error, you will find something that is available for you to trademark.

Conduct a free trademark search at


3. Determine the type of trademark you are applying for.

The trademark application requires you determine the type of trademark you are applying for. This can include a logo, name, sound, trade dress or collective membership. It’s important to understand the difference, as applying for the wrong type of trademark will result in a refusal.

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SEE ALSO: Did You Know? You Can Trademark More Than Just a Logo


4. Prepare your “proof of use.”

Your proof of use is a real-world example as to how your trademark will be used in association with the goods or services that you offer. Some acceptable items to submit for your proof of use include labels, tags, containers, website screen shots…etc. You should also know the earliest date that you began using your mark in commerce – the date you report must be accurate and cannot be a guess.

If you are not yet using the desired trademark in business, you can still submit the trademark application with just an explanation as to how you intend to use the mark. In order for your trademark to fully register though, you must eventually submit evidence of your proof of use roughly 6-9 months after filing.

5. Decide to file as an individual or an organization.

You can file as either an individual or an organization. If you decide to file as an individual, decide whether there will be any other owners besides yourself. Make sure you have all additional owner’s pertinent  information with accurate spellings. If you file as an organization, again make sure to have all accurate spellings and know which entity type your business is and the place of incorporation.


6. Decide on how you want to classify your trademark.

You will need to determine what kind of product or service you are offering in order to determine how to classify your trademark. For example, is your product a chemical product, wine and spirit product or a clothing product? The application will give you a list of all the many possible classes for you to choose from. Be sure to choose all the classes you wish to classify your trademark under.

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7. Determine what countries you want to file your trademark in.

There are many reasons why you may want to file in other countries outside the country you reside in. Maybe you do international business or maybe you highly suspect your product will become popular abroad? These are both great reasons to file in another country. Another good reason to file internationally is that you may want to protect your trademark in countries where counterfeit is high like China. Try to imagine all the possibilities in order to best protect your brand overseas.


8. Complete the trademark application.

You can choose to shovel paperwork but there are now many easy-to-use web application that can make the trademark application process a lot simpler., for example, offers a simple, easy-to-use workflow that guides you smoothly through the application process. The application can take about 15 minutes so set aside some quiet time to complete this. As you go along the workflow and you cannot answer specific questions immediately, you can save your work and come back to it once you have it prepared. You will also receive an assigned attorney through Trademarkia’s relationship with LegalForce RAPC.


9. Hire an attorney (optional)

If you are concerned about your mark not being registered, having trouble filing your trademark application yourself or if you are worried about the chances that your trademark may be conflicting with other marks, hire an attorney. Sometimes the stress is just not worth the hassle. An attorney doesn’t always have to break the bank either.

With Trademarkia, the Trademark Gold – Comprehensive package will give you the personal legal assistance that you need and is offered through Trademarkia’s relationship with LegalForce RAPC. The attorneys have filed numerous trademarks and are experts in their field. You will be given a consultation and have assistance along the way as you go through the application process.

SEE ALSO: The Trademark Timeline (Info Graphic)

What do you think? Is this something you can pull off? We think you can! Leave any of your questions regarding the trademark filing process below.

File a trademark

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