How Do I Protect a Trademark?

Trademark protection begins with disciplined use rather than upon registration, and usage is the most significant factor for trademark protection in the United States. Consistent use is the means through which trademark rights are established. Sometimes it is appropriate to register a mark, and different types of marks may require different forms of registration.

When is Trademark Registration an Option?

If use of a mark meets certain criteria it may be advisable to seek registration for a trademark. To determine if a name or logo associated with the university should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), please take the following steps:

  1. Read Trademark Fundamentals to help determine if registration of the mark(s) is feasible and necessary.
  2. Complete the Trademark Questionnaire form and email along with any additional relevant information to trdmarks@usc.edu.
  3. One the completed questionnaire has been received; the TLS office will review and contact you to discuss next steps.

The below links provide additional information on trademark use, registration, and maintenance: