Trademarking my beloved fledgling chainmaille jewelry company has been a valuable learning experience that I can now use in my graphic design work, offering more value to my clients. Moreover, it is an important step in protecting my name and hard work from infringement by others.
It started off with a lot of research using the United States Trademark and Patent Office's website: http://www.uspto.gov/ to find out how long the process might take, and what the cost would be. I went through their 'Trademark Basics' section, 'Trademark Process" section, and finally their 'Search Trademark Database' section which links to TESS, their Trademark Electronic Search System. Torusphere Amplexusmaille was free to use according to the search results! It was recommended on the USPTO website to do this search and any others that I thought might be useful, because all application fees are non-refundable, even if your mark is not approved. This in itself makes the case for being as original as possible with both company name and mark.
I decided not to file for the trademark on my own but instead chose to use a service. I used The Trademark Company and spent $374.00. Their fee included all of the fees that were paid to the USPTO. Using this company took a lot of guesswork out of the process- a process I didn't want to complicate by omitting or improperly filing paperwork, especially with all of the non-refundable fees. The website prompted me through all of the information I needed to submit, including an example of my company name and mark, and photos of it in use on packaging and print materials. I also included a link to my website for further verification.
The Trademark Company filed on my behalf on January 4th, 2015. After 5 months, my mark was assigned to an Examining Attorney at the USPTO. At that point, the attorney began to research my mark for any infringement or confusing similarities to other preexisting companies. I had also indicated on my application that the mark was already in use so this was another item the attorney researched. At this point I was also given an application serial number so I could follow the process via the USPTO's website. On June 2, the mark was published for opposition. At this time, and after the attorney's thorough search, anyone who felt my name or mark infringed upon theirs would have the opportunity to make their claim. This portion lasted around 2 months, and no claims were made. Finally, on August 18, 2015 my company's name and mark became federally protected. That little ® next to my name and logo has been one more major step towards creating the business I have been envisioning- a business that provides for my family, and keeps me creating for both myself and others well into the future. Woohoo!