Registration of Trademarks

     Trademarks may be registered with the U.S. Trademark Office,  http://www.uspto.gov. Usually, once a trademark has been registered the owner of the registration is the only one in the U.S. who may use the mark in conjunction with the goods and services for which it has been registered. Registration may be applied for at any time, including before a mark is in use.
     When a mark has been registered, the owner is entitled to use the registration symbol, ®, in conjunction with the mark. Until the mark is registered, the "common law" trademark symbol "TM" ("SM" for service marks) may be used.
     In the U.S., limited protection is granted for unregistered marks, as well as unique color schemes and other distinctive stylistic features that are used in conjunction with goods and services. Therefore, when designing products or selecting names, it is necessary to avoid similarity to a competitor's mark or product appearance, even if those are not federally registered trademarks.