Registering a Trademark

Irish companies who are planning to export to the U.S. must consider registering a U.S. trademark in their export strategy. 

What is a trademark? 

A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A registered trademark is also an asset which can be sold or licensed.


What’s the difference between a trademark, patent, and copyright?





What’s legally protected?

word, phrase, design, or a combination that identifies your goods or services, distinguishes them from the goods or services of others, and indicates the source of your goods or services.

Technical inventions, such as chemical compositions like pharmaceutical drugs, mechanical processes like complex machinery, or machine designs that are new, unique, and usable in some type of industry.

Artistic, literary, or intellectually created works, such as novels, music, movies, software code, photographs, and paintings that are original and exist in a tangible medium, such as paper, canvas, film, or digital format.

What’s an example?

Coca-Cola® for soft drinks

A new type of hybrid engine

Song lyrics 

What are the benefits
of protection?

Protects the trademark from being registered by others without permission and helps you prevent others from using a trademark that is similar to yours with related goods or services. 

Safeguards inventions and processes from other parties copying, making, using, or selling the invention without the inventor’s consent.

Protects your exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and perform or display the created work, and prevents other people from copying or exploiting the creation without the copyright holder’s permission.


Why register a trademark?

By registering a trademark, you attain an exclusive right to use the trade mark in association with the goods and/or services for which it is registered, and makes it easier to prevent others from using your trade mark without your permission. 


US Trademark Registration Questions:


Do I need to register an Irish trademark first? 

Companies should file for their Irish trademark through the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland before filing for U.S. protection. 

In the U.S., trademark must be “in use in commerce” to be registered unless there is a registration in another country for the same trademark.  Therefore, if you own an Irish registration, the U.S. trademark can be registered prior to any actual “use in commerce” of your trademark in the United States. 

Then, once your U.S. trademark is registered, you would have five years to begin offering your product or service within the United States.

Two routes to US Trademark Registration

  1. National Registration – Registering a trademark specifically for the U.S. through the United States Patent and Trademark Office
    • If the U.S. is your only target country, National Registration is the best strategy.
  1. International Registration Allows companies to register trade marks in multiple countries through a single application through the World Intellectual Property Office.  
    • With an international registration, you can begin by selecting to register in the U.S., and thereafter you can constantly add on protection in different countries as you grow. If you plan on targeting multiple countries for export, including the U.S., international registration is the best route to go.


How long does it take to register a trademark in the US?

Usually, the process takes 10 to 18 months.


When am I protected? 

Although the entire trademark registration process may take over a year to complete, a trademark applicant attains trademark protection from the moment that the application is filed.


Is it Expensive to register a trademark in the USA?

U.S. Trademark Registration is generally inexpensive. Furthermore, there are a number of grants available for companies looking to register a trademark, such as the EUIPO SME Fund and Enterprise Ireland’s IP Strategy Offer.


When do I use the ‘TM’ symbol or the ®?

The ‘TM’ symbol can be used alongside a mark at any time, whether or not it is registered. The ® symbol may only be used with a registered trade mark.


For more information on registering a trademark and protecting your intellectual property overseas, please contact us at [email protected]