At the heart of every business is its name. You may have spent weeks, months, or even years thinking about what you’re going to call it, what the logo design will be, and its significance to you. After all, this is what differentiates your business and brand from that of others.
As a business owner, it is critical to protect the elements of your brand that are unique to your business (i.e. the logo or slogan), especially as you begin to market and advertise your products and services in the marketplace. Keep in mind though that trademark law protects more than just names and logos. The law also offers some protection to distinctive shapes (i.e., the Coca-Cola bottle) or packaging (the choice of colors on the Netflix envelope). These types of identifying features are commonly referred to as “trade dress.”
One of the best ways to protect your trademark is to federally register it through the USPTO office. Although registration of your mark is not required, there are several legal advantages that come with federally registering your mark. First, it gives you the exclusive right to use your mark across the US and its territories. Second, registering your mark allows you to use the R in the circle symbol, which puts the public on notice that the mark is federally registered. Third, your registered mark will also be listed on the USPTO database, which allows others to search for your mark and further puts the public on notice that your mark is registered. Fourth, you have the legal rights to enforce your mark and bring an action against any infringers in federal court. Although the USPTO cannot enforce your trademark rights or bring an action for you, you or your attorney have the right to do so. Fifth, you have the ability to use your US trademark registration as a basis for applying for trademark registration in other foreign countries. As your business expands and grows, having trademark protection internationally is a big advantage. Lastly, by having your mark federally registered, you have the ability to record your trademark with the US customs and border protection.
Because filing a trademark application at the USPTO starts a legal proceeding that requires you to keep strict deadlines, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to obtain legal advice. To work with me directly to register your trademark, contact me here.
**DISCLAIMER: The information given here is general in nature and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions — please consult a lawyer. **