Getting a Trademark in KY

This article is taken directly from the KY Secretary of State's website and is all about trade/service marks. If you are interesting in getting a trademark, I encourage you to talk to a legal professional about it. This is just to get your started and thinking in the right direction.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design or combination thereof used to distinguish the source of goods of one party from that of another. All dealing with trademarks on a state level are handled through the KY Secretary of State.


What if I Sell a Service?

There is a trademark for service based industries called a Service Mark. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The services must be offered or provided to a party other than the applicant. The general terms "mark" and "trademark" may be used to describe both trademarks and service marks.


Do I Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

Patents protect inventions and improvements to inventions. Copyrights cover literary, artistic and musical works. Trademarks are brand names and/or designs that are applied to products or used in connection with services. Patents and copyrights are governed only by federal laws. Information for Patents and copyrights can be found at


How Do I Acquire a Trademark?

Trademark rights are actually not acquired through the registration process. A trademark is acquired by a business through use of it in normal courses of business. You can register for your trademark, but it is not necessary.


Why Would I Register My Trademark?

Remember, registration does not establish rights. But there are two main benefits of registration: Primarily, registration provides conclusive notice throughout the state regarding your claim to ownership of the mark. This benefits both the owner seeking exclusive use of a mark and a trademark user who seeks to ensure that his or her mark does not conflict with a mark already in use. Secondly, registration may provide the trademark owner with procedural advantages should it become necessary to judicially enforce trademark rights. For more information regarding enforcement of trademark rights, you should consult legal counsel.


Does Registration with the Kentucky Secretary of State Protect My Mark in Other States?

No. Registration of a mark in this office applies only to Kentucky. This office does not cross-reference marks registered in other states or marks registered at the federal level.


Can I Register My Mark Federally?

For information regarding federal trademark registrations, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.govor (800) 786-9199, or by mail at Commission of Patents and Trademarks, Washington, DC, 20023.


When Can I Use Symbols?

These symbols, ™ and SM, which represent "trademark" and "service mark," respectively, are not used to indicate state registrations; use of these symbols indicates a claim to rights to the mark associated with the use of the symbol. There is no symbol that denotes a state registration. You can use the ™ and SM symbol when you start operating your business and using the mark. The symbol (R) can be applied only to federally registered marks.


How Do I Register?

You can download a Trademark/Service Mark application, or contact the Secretary of State office at (502) 564-3490 to request one by mail. You must completely and correctly fill out the application, provide three specimens showing actual use of the mark, submit a drawing of all elements of the mark and pay a fee of $10.00 per mark per class. The application must be signed in the witness of a notary public and returned to: Secretary of State, Trademarks/Service Marks, 700 Capital Ave., Ste. 152, Frankfort, KY 40601 You can download the forms here: You can check availability and search registered marks here:


What Are The Fees for Registering a Trademark?

New Filing: $10.00 per class. Assignment: $5.00. Renewal Filing: $5.00 per class