Who Can Apply for a Trademark in the United States?

Anyone from anywhere in the world can receive a trademark registration in the United States from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In fact, the process and requirements for someone from a foreign country to register a trademark in the U.S. are nearly identical to the requirements a U.S. citizen must meet.

United States trademark law requires companies and individuals to actually be selling goods and/or services under their trademarks in order to receive federal recognition of their trademark. This law serves to prevent people from “reserving” trademark names they are not using much in the same way people “squat” on domain names. To prevent people from attempting to profit off of hoarding intellectual property in this manner, individuals and companies must prove that their products and/or services are being sold to the public.

As it occasionally takes time to turn intellectual property into a reality (developing software, for instance) an individual or company in the United States has about a year to submit a “Proof-of-Use” to the government after its trademark application is submitted. This time period can also be extended up to five times (for six months at a time).

If, however, a foreign company or individual has a registered trademark outside of the United States (known as a “foreign registration”), the foreign registration can be used as the basis for a trademark registration in the United States. In this case, the proof-of-use time will be extended to five years. This reason for this is to ensure that foreign companies or individuals can secure their intellectual property in the United States while they work on bringing their products and/or services to market in the United States. Go to GerbenLaw.com to Learn More