graphic of how to register a trademark, hand signing on contract of trademark with pen

How to Register a Trademark

Registering a trademark is straightforward and can usually be done online in an hour and a half.

Do I Need a Trademark, Copyright, Patent, or Domain Name?

Registering a trademark will protect your brand name or logo, while a copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent will protect an invention. A domain name is part of a web address (in, the domain name is

You can register your trademark, copyright, and patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. PTO), but you’ll register a domain name through an accredited domain name registrar.

5 Steps to Registering a Trademark

  1. Visit the U.S. PTO’s website.
  2. Check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database to check that another company hasn’t registered the same or similar mark in your industry and geographical location.
    • The U.S. PTO grants trademark protection to the first company that uses a specific mark in the geographical area.
    • If you started using a mark first, but someone else has already registered the mark, your registration may be rejected.
  3. File your registration online.
    • Registration costs between $225 and $400.
    • During the registration process, you’ll fill out information about your trademark, such as what categories your goods and services fall under and the date you first began using the mark.
    • Don’t include an extension, like “.com” or “.net”, in your mark registration, unless you’re registering your mark with and without the extension. Registering your mark without an extension will prevent other companies from registering your mark with a different extension.
  4. After you’ve completed the registration process, monitor the progress every three or four months to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.
  5. After your protection has been granted, you’ll have to file specific maintenance documents to maintain your registration. The U.S. PTO will register your trademark, but you, as the mark’s owner, are solely responsible for enforcement.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If your mark is similar to another registered trademark, particularly one in your industry, you may want to register through an intellectual-property attorney to ensure everything goes smoothly.

If your company’s name is generic or descriptive, like Mary’s Donut Shop, then you might have a hard time successfully registering a trademark. An intellectual-property attorney, however, might be able to help you get some protection.