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The preferred method of preparing the federal trademark application is to use the online Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) located at the PTO’s website (www.uspto.gov). TEAS is an interactive system in which the user is asked a series of questions.
Using the online TEAS PLUS system, you will be asked the basis for your trademark registration. If you have already used the mark in connection with your blog, then you would check “Yes” under “Use in Commerce.” As for dates of use, you will need to provide the date using the trademark, anywhere.
Identification of the Mark
If the mark is a word or group of words, identification of the mark is straightforward. But if the mark is a stylized presentation of the word, a graphic symbol, a logo, a design or any of the other devices permitted under trademark law, a statement must be provided that clearly identifies the mark. If you’re using the TEAS system, type in the word mark or, in the case of a stylized mark, attach a graphic file (either JPG or GIF format) containing a black and white rendition of the mark. Insert a written description in the appropriate box.
For the broadest protection for a word mark, register it free of any lettering style. This will give you the ability to use the trademark in various fonts, rather than being restricted to your original presentation of the mark.
Information About the Applicant
The applicant can be an individual, a partnership, a corporation, an association such as a union, social club or cooperative, or a joint ownership by some combination of any these forms. Most likely, it’s you, so your own citizenship is required as well as a mailing address. If you are doing business under a fictitious name, that information should be provided, especially if it is included on any specimen furnished with the application. If the mark is owned jointly by two entities, that should be stated as well. Supplying this information online using TEAS is facilitated by typing the appropriate information into the form.
You are required to provide a declaration, a sworn statement or other verification that the facts in the trademark application are true. You, or an officer of your corporation or association, should sign the declaration. The TEAS application provides an all-purpose declaration that can be used for both ITU applications and for trademarks that are in use.
Many trademarks include words or phrases that, by themselves, cannot be protected under trademark law. To allow one person an exclusive right to use such terms would decimate the English language. Therefore, the trademark office usually requires a disclaimer as to certain portions of trademarks.
If your application is based on actual use of your mark in commerce, you’ll need to enclose a specimen—that is, a JPG showing the trademark being used on your blog. In the case of ITU applications, the specimen must be filed later, together with a document entitled “Amendment to Allege Use.” You’ll see that the USPTO provides a means for uploading a digital photograph of the specimen.