Creating a distinctive mark that your customers associate with the products and services that your business offers are a valuable part of your marketing plan. Once you’ve developed your trademark, you’ll need to register it to protect its meaning and use for promoting your business.
Registering your company’s trademark is a major milestone that makes it possible to increase brand awareness. In New Jersey, the process is fairly straightforward, but you will need to do your due diligence to make sure you aren’t infringing upon anyone else’s trademark and that you complete the proper steps to submit your application.
Conduct a Trademark Search
New Jersey trademark registration is granted under a policy that honors the first use of the mark, which means that yours can be challenged or refused if another company can prove that they’ve used the mark prior to your company beginning to include it on its materials. You’ll want to first conduct a search of the state’s current registered trademarks and check with the national database to avoid having your trademark request rejected.
Create a Specimen and Drawing of the Mark
The New Jersey Treasury’s Department of Revenue and Enterprise Services has specific requirements for submitting the application that includes attaching three specimens of the trademark in actual use along with a drawing of the mark. The specimens can include items such as the trademark on the company letterhead or marketing materials. The drawing can be hand-drawn or a digital image that is placed on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper without any other markings in the background.
Choose the Classification
Trademarks are issued under several different classifications for use, and you’ll need to identify the ones that your business will use the mark under. For instance, there is a classification for restaurants, or you might choose to classify the registration for use in the agricultural industry. You have the option of choosing multiple classifications, but you will need to pay an additional charge for each one you choose.
Submit the Application and Payment
Once you’ve gathered your specimens, drawing, and other pertinent information, you’ll be ready to complete the application. On the application, you’ll need to provide the name of the trademark along with its description and attest to being the owner of the mark and using it in the state under the understanding that no one else is using the mark. You’ll also need to submit payment for the applicable fees, which includes the option of being able to receive expedited service.
After you’ve submitted your application, the approval process can take several weeks to complete. If you chose expedited or same-day service, then you’ll hear back much sooner. Keep in mind that trademark registration can involve some legal hurdles. If your application is rejected or you’re not sure how to conduct a thorough trademark search, then it may be beneficial to seek legal assistance from an attorney along with mentoring from other business owners in your community.