Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
How do I register a mark in Michigan
The Corporations Division distributes and processes the Application for Registration for Trademark/Service Mark. While this application is very simple, it must be filled out accurately and all information must be complete.
Once the application is completed, return it to the division with two 8 1/2 X 11 inch or smaller samples (copies) of the mark as used by the applicant, and the nonrefundable $50.00 filing fee. The Bureau's optical imaging system cannot accept certain items, i.e., black backgrounds, or actual articles such as clothing or photographs. Please call the Corporations Division at 517-241-6470 if you have any questions pertaining to allowable samples. It should be noted that the Act requires that a mark be used in commerce to offer goods or services before a registration can be filed. Applications are examined for accuracy, completeness and the distinctiveness of the mark.
Why would my mark not be registered?
Section 2(f) of the Act states that a mark shall not be registered if the mark consists of or comprises a mark which resembles a mark registered in this state or a mark or trade name as to be likely, when applied to the goods and services of the applicant, to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive. Thus the Act prohibits the registration of a mark that is confusingly similar to a registered mark or to a corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, general partnership or a sole proprietorship name. Appearance, sound, meaning, and goods or services to which the mark applies may be considered in determining if the mark is confusingly similar to an existing mark or name.
In evaluating an application, a search of registered marks in conducted and the applicant is notified if a conflicting mark is found. The principal factors that are considered in reaching a decision are the similarity of the marks and the commercial relationship between the goods and services identified by the marks. To conflict, the marks need not be identical, and the goods and services do not have to be the same.
It should be noted that while a trademark may be distinguishable on our record, this difference might not be enough to avoid infringing on business names filed with the county clerk or the Bureau, or nationally registered trademarks and service marks. If an infringement does occur, the applicant could be sued and forced to pay damages for infringement to the person or entity that has superior legal rights to the mark. The responsibility to avoid infringement rests with you, and care should be taken in choosing a mark.