People might want to patent a name for various reasons, especially if the name is that of a band, group, business or other name used for commercial purposes. However, ensuring that nobody else uses a name is not really referred to as patenting. Names are, in fact, trademarked rather than patented or copyrighted. Generally, patents refer to the protection of inventions and ideas, and copyrights refer to the protection of images and works of art.
Technically, anyone can trademark a name by utilizing the trademark symbol (™), but a registered trademark utilizes the registered trademark symbol (®). Registered trademarks are those that have been approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In order to get a registered trademark, an individual must complete an application and wait for it to be reviewed and approved by the office. Registered trademarks offer more protection in the event that legal disputes arise, whereas if conflicts arise with the dealing of traditional trademarks, the trademark will typically be awarded to the individual who can show the first published usage of the trademark.
People who want to apply for a trademark for a name must first ensure that the name that they want to trademark has not already been trademarked in the industry that they want to trademark it in. They can utilize the Trademark Electronic Search System found on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to look up various names and see if they have been trademarked yet or not. For instance, an individual can trademark a name that has already been trademarked in one industry as long as he or she wants to trademark it in another industry.
Once people have determined that the name they want to trademark in a certain industry is not already in use, they can complete the application for their trademark. After applying for their trademarks, they can expect it to take at least five months for them to receive a response concerning their applications from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. During that time, they may utilize the traditional trademark symbol (™). Only after an application has been approved and a registered trademark awarded can people utilize registered trademark symbols. Doing so without approval is a federal offense.
Getting a name trademarked is a process that takes time and patience. Some people might want to consider obtaining the assistance of lawyers to help them in obtaining their trademarks and to help them ensure that they apply for the right class of trademark for their industries.