I submitted an application to register a trademark with the Canadian Government today. It was painless and quickly done over the Internet. The total time was less than 15 minutes.

I then submitted the application to the US Patent and Trademark Office. This took about 45 minutes - and I am not sure I did it correctly. It also cost more than double the Canadian application. One thing I did not like was that to finish a rather long section you had to press a button labeled "Exit" - it was not clear that this would lead you forward in the application process (since all the pages leading up to this had a button labeled "Continue"). After much brow furrowing, I decided that the only way off out was to "exit".

A principle difference between the two applications processes is that for the Canadian application, I simply describe in words what wares and services the trademark applies to. So it was a simple, open ended sentence for each. For the US application, you have to select from a list of topics (you enter a keyword or two and get one or more pages of topics). For example, if you type in "seminar", you will get a bunch of seminar / education related topics including such things as "seminars on oncology". Sometimes the topics are a bit more general, but require you to fill in the blanks (such as, "Training in the subject of [FILL IN THE BLANK]").

I hope I will do something with this (assuming I get them) instead of it just being another thing I spend money on, but don't use (like a whole bunch of domain names - not entirely true, I do use my personal domain for certain e-mail correspondence).

I may choose to file in other countries as well - let's see how this goes first, though.

Just looked at the confirmation e-mail from the USPTO and it includes these words:

In approximately 5-6 months, your application will be assigned to an examining attorney; ... The overall process, from the time of initial filing to final registration, can take 13-18 months, and even longer ...

So I guess this is not one of those "stay tuned to this channel for all the latest news and updates" types of posts.

Hmmm ... wondering where my confirmation from the Canadian Government is?

[updated @20:07 to include this little tid-bit from the USPTO]


ORION said…
I enjoyed your post over at rejecters. I attend a great retreat and conference each year. Those of you on the mainland are fortunate to be able to have so many to choose from. BTW curious incident of the dog in the night time is one of my favorites for obvious reasons if you check my blog.
ghee said…
ok,I`ll stay tuned to this channel :)
pls let us know about the result.
tin-tin said…
so what is your product? :)
Cdn Gov is at Tim's! Well, start listing your inventions and get experimenting!
Never knew it'd be such a long process.
ingrid said…
Congratulations! :) Cool that you are doing this!!

For a link to a fun robotic thingy:
Richard said…
ORION: thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I have yet to attend such a conference - though I hope to eventually do so.

ghee: you may get bored with my blog before I get an answer.

tin-tin: the trademark application is for brand identification of information products, including, but not limited to books, audio programs and video programs. A few examples of existing brand identification for information products is dummies and simplified. You may have seen books titled "Investing for Dummies" or "The Dummies Guide to Europe"; this trademark also includes a distinctive yellow and black book covers. I have only applied for trademark for a series of terms that combined are distinct and clearly identifiable. (As a sanity check I did browse the web to see if anyone was using it the way I intend to - nope. I also searched the trademark databases and came up empty. So, I am pretty sure, barring that I botched the application, that I would be granted it. Of course, I still have to use it to make it worthwhile - rather like all those domain names I have registered (some of which I need to renew in a few months time).

MIO: I had hoped to do a patent application first, but that is more involved (and costs more) - I did attend a patent filing workshop a few years back. However, a patent has a limited life (though, in some cases it can be renewed) and unless you have immediate intention of using your patent, I think it is better to postpone. On the other hand, listing patents (assuming I ever got one) on my CV might be cool. Believe it or not, a trademark application is quite cheap and easy in Canada - only $250 (online, $300 offline) and takes less than 15 minutes - and is good for 15 years with the ability for to renew for 10 years periods after that.

ingrid: thank! In order to accomplish anything, we have to do something - not just dream about it. Of course, having a trademark does me no good if I don't actually use it to brand or identify something. As well, there is no guarantee that the terms I am trademarking will have any meaning to anyone other than myself (I can be self delusional at times). I still have to do something with all the domains I have registered (aside from using my private domain for e-mail).
KayMac said…
That is what the red stripes in my country's flag tape! wink. jk. Best of luck to you on your projects!
b said…
I read your explanation of the product in your comment and it sounds very interesting and viable. As you set out to do this new year, you are putting those thoughts/intellect into action! Best wishes with this! And yes, by all means, keep us posted...even if it takes months and months to hear back! :-)
ghee said…
no,not at all,Richard :)
Richard said…
kaymac: it was not so much red tape (although that may come when they start reviewing the application in a few months time) as offering too many options. For example, I mentioned that the code for books is 016 - however, the USPTO breaks that down into dozens of subcategories. It would have been much simpler if they had either the general categories or (better still) just allowed a free form text description of what it applied to.

breal: thanks for the encouragement. The idea for a trademarkable term came to me as I was ranting about how fat informational books are. As a software developer I have to read a lot and plowing through 1200+ page tomes is not my idea of fun.

ghee: nice to hear that you will be around.
Coffee fairy said…
hey hey hey! Glad to hear about this, Richard! Goodluck in pursuing your passion! :)
Richard said…
coffee fairy: I don't know if it is my passion, but I hope it is something that inspires me.

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