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Does Your Business Need a Trademark (and How Do You Register One?)

Does Your Business Need a Trademark (and How Do You Register One?)

A trademark allows you to protect the key elements of your business from being misappropriated by malicious third parties, and all of the world’s best-known brands make use of the associated legislation to prevent others from piggybacking on their good reputations.

The question is, should your business leverage the same laws by registering a trademark, and how do you go about doing this if the answer is yes?

The Perks of Trademarks

A trademark can cover recognizable, identifiable and unique assets associated with your business, such as the name of the company itself, any logos or symbols related to it, and phrases or slogans that are related to the products and services you offer.

The first thing to point out is that trademark protection is applied automatically by law, which means that registration is not strictly essential, at least in theory. In practice, it is a sensible step to take specifically because it makes it simple to raise a legal challenge in the event that your trademark is compromised.

Registering Your Trademark

So long as your business is based domestically, you are able to apply to the USPTO to register your trademark without any outside assistance.

Of course it is generally better to take advantage of trademark registration services for this purpose, as the assistance of an experienced attorney will go a long way in streamlining the process.

Another advantage of registration is that your trademark will be added to the official database, which will mean that it is searchable by anyone who cares to use it.

The reason that searchability makes a difference is that it will mean others will be less likely to impinge upon your trademark accidentally. Likewise your organization can take advantage of this tool to see whether your own efforts might overlap with those of another company, saving you time and money in the long run.

Limitations to Note

One thing worth pointing out in relation to registering trademarks is that they tend to only apply within the nation or territory where they are registered. So, for example, by registering in the US, you are eligible for protection nationally, but may not be afforded the same legal rights elsewhere in the world.

This is why larger firms usually register trademarks in whichever parts of the planet where they intend to operate, or at least to sell products.

Thankfully because the USPTO is a recognized and respected institution, it is often more straightforward to successfully register a trademark elsewhere if you have already done so in America.

It is also necessary to point out that different business names may be easier or harder to actually trademark successfully, depending on their nature.

Unique brand names are a relative breeze, while businesses which are simply named after their founders tend to be trickier, for example.

In short, being aware of the ins and outs of the trademarking process, and getting expert assistance, will let you navigate this successfully.

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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.