People always ask me: "Vicky, when is the best time to register my trademark?"
In true lawyer fashion, I will tell you that there’s never going to be a “best” time. It’s going to depend on any number of things.
That said, if I had to pick the most ideal time, I would say do not wait and start the registration process as soon as you start your business!
This is for two very important reasons:
1. Before registering, you would need to do a thorough search to make sure that the trademark you’re going to register is actually available for your use. Having that information as early on as possible in your business’ life is critical! The last thing you want is to get knee deep into branding, marketing, selling, building a brand around an entire trademark – only to find out that you’re violating someone’s rights.
Now, granted, you can do this search outside of the registration process, but unfortunately, nobody does. Plus if you did one at the beginning, you’d still need to do another one before filing, so you might as well kill two birds with one stone.
2. You don’t need to wait to launch your website, your social media, you don’t need to have physical products – you legitimately don’t need to have made a single dollar in your business before you apply to register your trademark. If you have the intention of using that trademark in your business, you can “reserve” your rights in that trademark by filing an application to register it. That is the only way to reserve the rights to a trademark in the US. Otherwise, you would need to begin to use your trademark on your products or services, and you’d actually have to sell those products or render those services to someone outside of your state in order for trademark rights to apply. (Considering the search I spoke about in #1 above told you that you’re entitled to those rights.)
As an aside, it's currently taking anywhere from a year to three years for a trademark to get registered at the USPTO, so the longer you wait, the longer it's going to take you to enjoy all the benefits that ® is going to get you!