Building a strong brand is critical to business growth and success. Protecting your brand is equally important. Yet, many small businesses skip the important first step in securing their brand with a federal trademark.
What Is A Trademark?
A trademark is any unique word, symbol, name or device used to identify and distinguish the goods of one seller from the goods of another. Think McDonald’s and the Golden Arches or the Adidas Three Stripes. A trademark allows the seller to protect it’s products or services from use and/or misuse by competitors while building brand loyalty and identity with customers. Trademarks also help prevent confusion or manipulation of consumers, who come to associate distinct attributes like quality and consistency with a distinct brand.
What Can Be Trademarked?
The following are business assets that can be trademarked: Business Name, logos, slogans, tag lines and packaging. However. a word or phrase that’s commonly used or already connected with another product or service in the same industry or category cannot be trademarked. For example, a generic term like “computer” can’t be trademarked, but a unique name, like Lenovo, can be. However, if your name is generic but used in an industry not typically related to the meaning of the term, you may be able to trademark it. A good example would be Dominoe’s Pizza. Associating pizza with a word typically referencing a game makes it less generic and gives it protection.
What Is The Trademark Process?
In the United States, whoever establishes priority in a mark is usually considered the owner of it. In other words, if you’re the first company to use a unique mark to identify your products or services, you don’t need to register your mark to gain rights to it. However, in order to get exclusive rights and ownership and be able to stop third parties from use without your permission, you must register your mark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
It’s best to seek an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law to ensure that your meet all the requirements to protect your brand. Trademarks can be registered at the state or federal level. State registrations are typically less expensive, but also offer less protection. Filing a federal trademark application with USPTO, ensures that your brand is protected nation-wide. This process can take months. Do your research, because if your mark is considered confusingly similar to another registered mark, your application will be refused.
The more different and unique your brand is from others, the easier it’ll be to register and protect. At Anitria Stevenson Law PLLC, we provide our clients with a comprehensive search upfront to determine the level of risk clients may face when trying to register their marks. We also provide guidance and representation throughout the entire process.
To inquire about the process of trademarking your brand, visit Anitria Stevenson Law
Or email email@example.com and get started with building and protecting you legacy.