How long does a mark (name/logo) need to be used in commerce before it can be registered as a trademark?

Thank you for your question. My response will analyze two issues. First, the four requirements that your mark would have to satisfy to obtain trademark protection. Then, how those requirements could affect your trademark eligibility for your new business. I am assuming that you are only seeking federal trademark protection – if you also want to register your mark in a state, message me for more details.

Your mark would have to meet the following criteria for trademark protection:

· Be used in the ordinary course of trade between states or between the United States and foreign nations. Products associated with your mark should display the registered mark and documents associated with the mark should do so as well.

· The mark must be distinctive and non-generic (this means that the trademark cannot be the dictionary term for your product or service

· Marks that are fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive automatically meet the distinctiveness requirement. Fanciful marks are coined for use as trademarks and have no previous common dictionary meaning. Arbitrary marks may have common meanings but do not suggest or describe the goods or services for which they are used. Suggestive marks suggest a good’s or service’s quality or characteristic – thought, imagination, and perception are required to connect the good or service with the trademark. Descriptive marks describe a good’s or service’s ingredients, quality, function, purpose, and use – these marks are entitled to protection only after they are solidly associated in consumers’ minds with your product.

· The mark cannot be too similar to an existing trademark

Under most circumstances, the mere fact that your trademark represents a new business will not bar you from registering the mark. However, if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determines that your trademark is descriptive, you will not be able to register the mark because it is not likely that the mark will have strong brand recognition.

I hope this helps! Need assistance registering your trademark? LawTrades has amazing intellectual property lawyers across the country who can help protect your brand. Feel free to message me with any questions!