Q: What steps should I take to get my product on the shelves?
I want to sell a product but I'm really not sure the steps I should take. Should I trademark it first or...? I've tried googling it but I really don't know how all of this works on the legal side of things. I would appreciate any help I can get.
A: Before you even get to trademarks, you should be considering things like forming a business entity, getting a tax ID number, looking into state and local tax (sales tax, use tax, etc) issues, etc. You also need to consider contracts with stores or other sales channels, and if you haven't done so already, with manufacturers, distributors and other vendors.
As for trademarks, you need to consider if you would be selling in only one state, or in multiple states. Federal trademark registration is reserved for interstate commerce, so if you are only selling in one state, you would only register for a state mark. If you are engaging in interstate commerce, then federal registration is not supposed to happen until AFTER you are already using the mark in commerce. However, there is an intent to use application through which you can reserve a name prior to actual sales.
All of this can be fairly complex stuff to sort through, and the answers to questions on one issue will influence how you should answer other questions.
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