In http://www.chicagotrademarkattorney.net/acquiring-and-maintaining-a-trademark/ I discussed the advantages of obtaining a federal trademark registration in the U.S. To enjoy those advantages, you need to file an application to obtain that registration in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The first step in filing an application is to check the records of that Office to make sure that that mark is available, i.e., that that mark or a confusingly similar mark is not used on the same or related goods or services. Related goods or services are goods or services that would be sold or used together such that the use of the same or similar name to identify them would cause customer confusion. Since trademark rights in the U.S. are generally based on being the first to use that mark, the exception being that you can file a trademark application based on your intent to use that mark in the future, (See http://www.chicagotrademarkattorney.net/intent-use-mark-must-bona-fide/ ) you should also, at least, check the Internet to see if your proposed mark or a confusingly similar mark is used on related goods. Here, I recommend that you retain the services of an experienced trademark attorney to conduct that search and analyze the results as he or she would be aware of the relevant law and Patent Office practice and, thereby, be able to advise you as to whether your selection and use of a particular trademark or service mark is likely to be approved by that Office and, more importantly, whether in adopting and using that mark you run the risk of a potential legal claim being raised by the owner of another mark.
If your mark is available, in your U.S trademark application you need to identify who the owner of the mark is, who should also be the user of the mark, and list its address, entity type, and then the state or country under which it is organized, e.g., state of incorporation.
Then you need to identify the mark. If it’s a word or slogan, you can display it in block letters or standard characters, i.e., type it. If it includes a logo, you need to decide if color is an important marketing feature. If it is, the mark should be registered in color. If the design rather than the color is more important or if the logo will appear either on your products or in your marketing materials in more than one color, you should register the mark in black and white. To meet U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requirements you will need to provide a .jpg drawing of your logo scanned at not less than 300 dots per inch and no more than 350 dots per inch, to produce the highest quality image with all lines clean, sharp, and solid, with a length of no less than 250 pixels and no more than 944 pixels, and a width of no less than 250 pixels and no more than 944 pixels.
Next, whether the mark is a word, slogan or logo, you need to identify what goods or services it is used or intended to be used in connection with (For goods, the mark must be used on packaging or labeling for the product, for services, the mark must be used on advertising for the product, e.g., store signage, brochures, web site, etc.). The Patent and Trademark Office provides a handy list of suggested goods or services for your application at http://idm-tmng.uspto.gov/id-master-list-public.html, By using one of these pre-approved descriptions of your goods and services, you qualify for a reduced government filing fee.
If you are currently using the mark, you need to identify the date when the mark was first used on your goods or in connection with your services and the first date that those goods with labeling or packaging bearing the mark that you want to register were shipped either across state lines or to the U.S. from abroad. For services, advertised on the web, it is sufficient to use the date that the relevant advertising went live on the web, as your first date of use. But note, it is not sufficient that you are advertising the services; on that relevant date you must be providing your services to the public. You also need to prove that you are using your trademark or service mark on the goods or services that you have listed in the application by providing via a .jpg or .pdf file an image of your advertising for your services, for a service mark, or an image of labeling for the product or packaging for the product for a trademark and identify in your application what that proof of use is, e.g., a label, product packaging or a webpage advertising your services.
Note that if your goods and services are in more than one class, you will have to submit additional filing fees. If you use the Patent Office’s suggested list of goods or services, it will identify the applicable class that those particular goods or services are in, and when you complete your application, will calculate the filing fees that you owe. For example, cosmetics are in one class, motor vehicle parts are in another class, financial services are in another class, marketing services are in another class, etc. but most articles of clothing and most electronic goods, because they are related products, would be in the same class, that is, most articles of clothing would be in the same class and most electronic goods would be in the same class.
Finally, you need to sign the application electronically by inserting your name or initials between two slash marks, typing in your name and title and dating the application. If you are not a U.S. resident, you will have to designate a domestic representative in the United States. You pay the government filing fee by credit card online and the Patent Office will acknowledge its receipt of your application by electronic mail to your email address.
In about three or four months you should hear from the government, either by telephone or by mail, if your trademark registration application has to be corrected or was refused. If you do not hear anything, then you’ll hear that it was approved and published in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Official Gazette to give third-parties 30 days to oppose your application. If there is no objection by those third parties, you’ll receive a Certificate of Registration if your application stated that the mark was currently in use or a Notice of Allowance if you intend to use your mark in the future.