You’ve got a product you believe in, a business plan that’s rock solid, and a marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to put you at the top of the game.  But wait, before you really launch your new empire, you should consider registering an official trademark.[1]  

Here are 5 questions and answers about trademarks to get you started.

What exactly is a trademark?

At its most basic, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of another. On a deeper level, a trademark can come to embody an entire corporation, becoming so enmeshed with that identity that it instantly instills an emotional response for consumers when they see it on products.

Why do I need a trademark?

A well-designed trademark can be used to convey, in a single word or image, a message to consumers regarding your company, its products, services and reputation. A trademark that becomes synonymous with the company makes it possible for consumers to identify your products at a glance, helping to differentiate you from your competitors. 

How do I register a trademark?

In the United States, businesses gain trademark protection as soon as they start using them in commercial use. While this protection is considered common law trademark, it’s also a good idea to officially register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Having it officially registered provides additional legal protection not afforded to common law protection.

What can I register as a trademark?

The list of what you can register is so long, it’s easier to look at what you can’t register, starting with offensive or misleading marks.  You also can’t register anything that would be considered infringing on another already existing trademark.

What is trademark infringement?

Because your trademark is assigned to you and your products, consumers expect to be purchasing the quality you guarantee when they see an item bearing that trademark. When a consumer is no longer able to distinguish between two products from competing brands, because the trademarks are too similar, the senior trademark holder risks losing consumer confidence and profits. If another company starts producing goods using a trademark that is similar enough to yours to cause consumer confusion, that’s considered infringement. 

 

 [1]  This blog post provides generalized information and does not constitute legal advice or an attorney-client communication. Each situation is unique and requires consultation with suitable professionals.

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