The Secretary of State’s Office is a ministerial filing office and cannot provide legal advice to citizens. Nothing in the following should be construed to constitute legal advice. The Secretary of State’s Office strongly recommends that you seek the assistance of counsel before making any decisions that may have legal implications.
1. What is a trademark or service mark?
2. Why do I need a trademark or service mark?
Trademarks and service marks enable customers to find a business and identify the business with the product or service that they provide.
3. How do I register a mark?
b) Submit three identical specimens used in commerce with the indentifying mark.
c) Include the proper filing fee.
4. What is the filing fee to register a trademark or service mark?
The filing fee is $15.00 per mark, per class.
The fee for a renewal is $5.00.
The fee for an assignment is $3.00.
5. Can I reserve a trademark or service mark before using it?
No. A mark must be in use prior to submitting the application for trademark or service mark registration. For trademarks, the goods or products must be on sale in the marketplace in order for the mark to be eligible for trademark registration.
For service marks, the registrant must be rendering services before registering with the Secretary of State.
6. Does registration with the Secretary of State’s Office prevent others from registering the same or similar mark in other states?
No. Registering your mark with the Secretary of State’s Office only applies to the state of South Carolina. Please consult with an attorney to determine in you need additional state or federal registrations.
Nationwide trademark, copyright and patent information is available by calling the United States Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office at 1-800-786-9199 or visiting the web site at http://www.uspto.gov/.
7. Does the Secretary of State’s Office investigate counterfeit marks and the fraudulent use of registered trademarks?
Yes. Please contact the Secretary of State’s Office at (803) 734-0629 with any information or complaints concerning trademark violations.
8. How long does the trademark or service mark last?
9. Are marks assignable?
Yes. Please refer to SC Code Section 39-15-1135
10. What are the hours of the Secretary of State’s Office?
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
11. How do I file documents with the Secretary of State’s Office?
Documents should be mailed to or sent UPS/FedEx or hand-delivered to:
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201