Trademark Application: More than Filling out a Form

My name is Alyssa Helfer, I’m a senior at Northwestern University and am hoping to go to law school after I graduate.

Interning at the Kloss, Stenger and LoTempio law firm this summer has been filled with new experiences; most recently, this included attempting to  prepare a trademark application  to file on the USPTO website on my own.

Some parts were straight forward but other parts I needed help from the attorneys in the firm to complete.Here is what I encountered in this exercise:

Finding the trademark application online was pretty straightforward, it just required clicking through a couple screens. The first place I ran into difficulty, however, was in deciding whether I wanted to use a TEAS or TEAS Plus form.

The latter has much stricter requirements:

  • Could I file a “complete” application with the information I had?
  • Would the Response to an Office action and other required forms later be filed through TEAS?

Once I made my selection, the first page just required basic background information, easy enough. I didn’t have as much luck with the next screen, which provided me with about seven options for “additional statements.”

Many of these contained references to trademark laws which I was not familiar with, did these apply to the application for the mark I was working on? some examples of the question I couldn’t answer were:

  • Was the use of the trademark “in commerce” different than the use anywhere?
  • Was the use proper?
  • And what is the difference between a drawing and a specimen?

As far as listing the good and services, the search tool made it pretty simple to select exactly what I needed, although there were so many options that I had to choose carefully.

I was able to successfully complete the form with a bit more help. I realized that filing a trademark application involves more than just filling out a form; lucky for me, I had a whole office of attorneys across the hall.