How to Trademark

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How to Trademark

We want to trademark our company that is about to be developed. How do we know if our name is too generic to trademark? Should we trademark the name of our app before developing it?

Asked on July 18, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast rule for when a name is too generic (it is a subjective determination), but if it's a common, logical, or obvious way to describe what your product does, it probably is. Think about "Facebook," "Uber," "Twitter", all of which are trademarked: none is a generic term like "social media," "ride sharing," or "broadcast short texts." Rather, even if evocative of what they do, they in no way describe or act as a category name.
Trademark is based on use in commerce: you can only trademark when you have started to sell, or at least advertise, products or services with the mark, or at most 6 months prior.

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