As an owner of a private company, independent franchise, or brand, it is highly important that you trademark the name for this business.
A trademark is a word, symbol, or phase, used to identify a particular manufacturer or seller’s products and distinguish them from the products of another. For example, the trademark “Coca Cola” distinguishes the brown colored soda water from other sodas such as Pepsi and Root-beer. Trademarks prevent confusion in the marketplace of similar goods and services; it furthermore makes it easier to quickly identify the source of a given product and/or service.
A trademark immediately informs consumers that the goods and/or services are of a certain quality and standard, which gives customers a positive feeling about the product and organization because they know what to expect before making a purchase. Failure to trademark the logo or name of your business gives other organizations of similar services and goods, and even those with the same name the opportunity to trademark their name before you thus giving them all rights to the mark. Ultimately, failure to trademark hinders your profit, and could potentially lead to costly litigation.
It is important to note that a trademark must be registered in order for the rights to the word, symbol, or phrase to be fully protected and enforced. The first step to register a trademark is to clear the mark for use. This means that the owner of the mark must ensure that it is not already being used by someone else in connection with a similar good or service. If the mark so happens to already be in use, additional features may be added to the proposed mark so that it is distinguished from other similar marks.
After the company deciphers if their mark is available to use, they are then eligible to register by applying to the Patent and Trademark Office. By completing this step, you are able to acquire the rights to a trademark, however, trademark rights may be lost. The rights to your mark may be lost through failing to enforce your trademark, abandonment, and improper licensing.
Failing to enforce your trademark means that you have open the door to a multitude of misuses, such as, infringement, tarnishment, and false advertising. A trademark is considered abandoned when it has not been used for three consecutive years. The basic idea is that trademark law only protects marks that are being used. When a trademark is lost through improper licensing, it is without adequate quality control or supervision by the trademark owner, and will be immediately canceled.
In concluding, business owners should always be aware that registering their brand as a trademark is of great benefit to them. Trademarks help establish validity, provides an additional business asset that will increase your sales, and last but certainly not least, increases the strength of your mark. Trademarking will indubitably set a positive tone for the success with your existing or start-up business, if done efficiently and effectively.
The trademark application process is quite complex and generally requires some experience or training to successfully complete the lengthy process. If you’re considering trademarking your company or brand, it’s strongly encouraged that you seek legal advice. The USPTO offers a great deal of resources, but please contact us if you have questions.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!