A trademark application can be submitted by:
- an individual (or their representative)
- a legal entity (or their representative) - this includes limited liability companies, sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts, estates and more
- associations of individuals or legal entities (in case of a collective trademark) - for example, the trademark AAA® indicates membership in the American Automobile Association
Since trademark ownership is not restricted to any type of holder, the question then becomes: Who SHALL be the trademark owner? Sometimes, a new LLC is formed for the sole purpose of owning the trademark. Sometimes, multiple parties (such as the producer and distributor) agree on joint ownership.
For most small-to-medium and startup businesses, the choice is usually between the owner and the company itself. If you want to learn more about which may be the best option for you, you can read our article Should I apply for a trademark in personal or business name?