If you’re a business owner looking into what a trademark is, you may have heard the term TEAS and are wondering “What Does TEAS Stand For in Trademark?"
This article is about "What Does TEAS Stand For in Trademark?"
Many business owners are driven by their passion for providing innovative solutions to our daily problems. Unfortunately, business ideas and products are easily replicated in today's landscape. Distinguishing yourself from the sea of copycats and tight competitors can give your business a competitive edge.
You can do this by registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Registering your trademark can increase your profit streams via licensing opportunities, increase the valuation of your company, reduce your risk of getting sued, and more!
In this blog post, we'll help you understand everything you need to know about trademarks. From the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to maintaining your trademark, we'll help you establish a legitimate brand for your business.
What Does TEAS Stand For in Trademark
What Does TEAS mean?
TEAS stands for Trademark Electronic Application System. It is the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) portal to file trademark applications. A trademark owner can file a trademark application on TEAS to get trademark registration.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a brand identifier and can be your business's name, logo, slogan, and or design. A trademark registration can be granted to products, services, or even a combination of both. A service mark refers to services but everyone uses a trademark these days.
You get automatic common law trademark rights when you start using a mark, but registering your trademark with the USPTO gives you additional benefits that can save you money and make you lots of money.
For example, a trademark registration can help you stop counterfeits, competitors that replicate your logo and moniker for their business, or other types of infringement.
Many people misunderstand trademarks as an exclusive right to use the trademarked material. However, a trademark is only limited to a specific commercial use.
For example, you might have a trademark to use a specific logo design for your digital marketing company. However, another company from a different industry providing different services or products can use the same logo with little to no legal repercussions.
Situations differ from one company to another, so it's best to speak with a trademark and business attorney to clarify your issue.
Why Do Trademarks Matter?
Trademarks matter for countless reasons, but to simplify everything, we rounded up five of the most important reasons why you should apply for trademark registration.
Legitimizes your business- A trademark is a sign of legitimacy and recognition from the government. It also shows your customers that you're an industry-established brand.
Sets you apart from the competitors- A trademark helps you differentiate your business from imitators or copycats that might want to take advantage of your ideas.
Provides marketing and branding advantage- A trademark adds value to your company's marketing and branding efforts. It also encourages customers to be loyal to you as they want to avoid similar products or services from competitors not associated with your brand.
Increases the value of your company- The value of your company name grows as your business grows. This means you can ask for more money when you sell the company or use it as collateral for loans or licensed it out.
Provides legal protection- A trademark gives you a legal defense against any infringement by other businesses. It also sets clear boundaries on how far your competitors can go without infringing on your rights.
File your trademark application to get your mark on the principal register!
What Elements or Products Can You Trademark?
A trademark is always tied to the nature of your business and the goods you sell or services you provide. You can only apply for a trademark registration by specifying or detailing the goods or services you are involved with.
Generally, trademarks can consist of a combination of words, letters, numbers, logos, colors, and slogans. However, other elements can also be trademarked, such as packaging and soundbites.
Specifying commercial use and providing details about your business is critical to establishing your trademark's scope and limitations. You can't use your trademark to prevent the general public or another company from using the same material.
What's the Difference Between Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights?
Many people are confused by the distinction between trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Although they are all meant to protect your intellectual property rights, the rights can serve different functions.
Trademarks protect the brand symbol, words, or logo associated with your business. For example, Nike's use of "Just do it" for their marketing materials, "Apple" as a company name for a technology provider, or the golden arches used by McDonald's in their restaurants.
Patents are intellectual property rights that protect the invention or process you created for a specific purpose. For example, if you invented a new type of mobile phone interface, the patent covers how your customers use it, how it works, and what makes it unique from other mobile phones.
Copyrights protect original works and creative ideas by preventing them from being replicated without permission. For example, a copyright protects the artist's original song from being recorded without consent.
Each legal tool entails different legal processes and requirements, so it's best to consult a legal expert before making any decisions.
TEAS Plus vs. TEAS Standard: What's the Difference and Best Filing Option?
The USPTO introduced two ways to apply for trademarks electronically: TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard applications. We'll dissect the differences between these two application processes and help you find the best way to trademark your business.
The TEAS Standard is more flexible than its counterpart, the TEAS Plus, requiring fewer requirements, but the process is lengthier. The fee for TEAS Standard is also more expensive compared to TEAS Plus.
In contrast, the TEAS Plus offers a shorter application process and cheaper fees than the standard version. However, this process requires more upfront requirements and is less flexible. The TEAS Plus was formerly known as the TEAS Reduced Fee (RF) Form because of its lower application fee.
What Are the Benefits of TEAS Standard and TEAS Plus?
Now that you know the primary difference between the two, it's time to identify which one works best for your business.
TEAS Standard Benefits
The filing fee for the TEAS Standard would cost $350 per class of goods or services.
With a TEAS Standard, you can create or build a listing of your goods or services using your own words, which is not allowed in TEAS Plus. This option is ideal for business owners with more control over their goods or service descriptions.
TEAS Plus Benefits
The TEAS Plus, conversely, is more rigid and requires more information. However, its fee structure is significantly cheaper at $250 per class of goods or services.
Additionally, you can't create a custom description of your products and services. You need to refer to the USPTO's Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual for the specific terms to identify your goods and services.
What Are the Requirements for Trademark Application?
The requirements needed for a trademark application are relatively straightforward and can quickly be completed:
Application Under the Owner's Name
When you apply for the trademark, it must be under your name or the name of your business entity. We usually suggest you have the business entity as the owner of the trademark to protect your limited liability.
You must also provide basic contact information, such as a home or company address and business phone number. Ultimately, the trademark owner should have complete control over the goods or services rendered under the trademark.
Declare the Entity of Your Business
When applying for a trademark, you must declare the entity of your business.
Demonstrate Actual or Real Intent To Use the Trademark
When applying for the trademark, you must demonstrate an actual intent to use or have already used it, as mentioned in the "basis" section. This means that you should have either already begun using it in commerce or at least possess a good faith intention of doing so soon.
If the trademark is not yet being used, you may be required to submit additional documents to prove your intention to incorporate it commercially in the future.
Provide a Detailed Description of the Product To Be Trademarked
When filing for the trademark, you must describe the product or service being trademarked in complete detail. This includes any images or mock-ups associated with your trademark, if applicable.
You should also mention what categories of goods and services it covers. This allows the USPTO to gauge the scope and limitations of your trademark application.
Submit a Drawing or Specimen of the Trademark
If you're applying for a trademark for future commercial use, you can submit a product sketch or a descriptive outline of the services you'll be providing.
How Do You Apply for a Trademark?
By now, you've gained a fundamental understanding of how trademarks work and the different electronic application processes. It's time to know how you can apply for a trademark for your business. Here's an overview of the process you can expect with TEAS:
Identify if a Trademark Is Right for You
First, you must verify if a trademark is a suitable legal tool for your business. Consult with a lawyer to determine if you need to apply for trademark registration in the first place. Remember that various legal tools are used to protect businesses, so make sure you pick the right one.
If you want to protect your creative work or novel products, you may need a copyright or a patent. A trademark is best suited if you want to claim ownership over your business logo, company name, or slogan for marketing and branding purposes.
Select Your "Mark" and Its Format
After determining the need for a trademark, the next step is identifying what you want to register. Do you want to protect your company name, logo, design, or slogan? Your mark can be in any format, such as words, designs, symbols, logos, or colors.
Determine the Nature of Your Business
As mentioned in an earlier section, your trademark is tied closely to the nature of your business. Before registering for one, you need to decide if you're offering a service or a product. Also, identify the specific class of goods or services that your trademark will provide since each category corresponds to different fees and requirements.
Search for Similar Trademarks
Now that you know what type of mark and goods or services you want to provide, it's time to search for potential conflicts. You can use the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to find existing trademarks from other businesses. But it is best to have an attorney do a thorough search because you may not find all conflicts on TESS.
You need to have an attorney search for the exact same mark and also similar marks that are likely to confuse the public.
Generally, there's nothing wrong if two businesses of a completely different nature share a similar trademarked name, logo, or slogan. However, creating a unique mark is always ideal since it boosts your chances of a successful application and prevents legal problems from arising.
Know Your "Basis" for Filing
In this next step, you must determine your "basis" for filing the trademark. A filing basis refers to the legal grounds which allow you to apply for a trademark, and it can be either of the following:
This means that the trademark is currently used in trade or commerce. It's an ideal basis if your business has already been operating for a significant amount of time.
Intent to Use Basis
This basis allows you to register a trademark even though it's not being used yet. This option is suitable for emerging businesses or products that are still in the development stage.
Foreign Registration Basis
You can use this basis if you own a trademark registered in your country of origin. This suits established foreign businesses looking to set roots in the U.S.
Foreign Application Basis
This is similar to the foreign registration basis but with a minor difference. It means you have an application for a trademark overseas and want it registered in the U.S.
Setup Your USPTO.gov Account and Apply for a Trademark
Once you know what your basis is, now's the time for the nitty-gritty. You must create a USPTO.gov account and complete the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
The application will ask you to provide information about your mark, its goods and services, and its filing basis. This is also where you select which type of trademark application process you want--either a TEAS Plus or a TEAS Standard.
Monitor Your Application Status
The USPTO recommends applicants check their trademark application every three to four months from their initial request. You can do this by visiting their Trademark Status and Document Retrieval page.
This way, you can keep track of your application's progress and ensure all documents or statements are up-to-date before the USPTO decides. Regularly checking your application process prevents potential denial of missing critical document deadlines.
Coordinate With the Examining Attorney
If you meet all the minimum documentary requirements of the TEAS, the USPTO will delegate your application to an examining attorney. At this point, the examining attorney will review your application and recommend it for approval or denial.
If it's recommended for approval, you will receive a notification via e-mail. Otherwise, the examining attorney will issue an office action outlining the reasons for the denial. You can work with a trademark or business lawyer to respond to office actions within three months and petition for the reversal of their decision.
Receive a Response to Your Application
Suppose all goes well and no objections are encountered during the process. In that case, the examining officer will recommend your application for approval, an