A federal trademark registration provides valuable protections for your dietary supplement brand. You will have the presumption of nationwide protection for your trademark. You also will be able to more easily take down infringing listings on online marketplaces, such as Amazon. Your registered trademark can also be a springboard to international trademark registration.
You’ve worked hard to build a successful dietary supplement business, and to continue your success, it is essential to protect your brand. A trademark registration is an inexpensive investment in your business with valuable protections, and, if you maintain your trademark through monitoring and renewal, you can keep these protections for as long as you continue to use the mark! Consider the following ways a federal trademark registration will protect your dietary supplement brand.
A Registered Trademark Protects You in all 50 States
The United States is considered a first-to-use country, which means that you have some rights to your mark simply by using it in the marketplace. Unfortunately, these protections are quite limited. For instance, common law trademark rights only apply to the small geographic region in which your business is located. This may be enough protection for business owners that wish to only sell their supplements at local farmers markets and health stores. However, if you plan to reach customers outside your region, either through distribution or online sales, this may be a problem, especially if you find a similar business is using the same mark in another location.
On the contrary, a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has the presumption of nationwide validity. As the owner of a federally registered trademark, you will be protected against infringement in all fifty states. This means that you will be free to grow and expand your dietary supplement business over time. Even if you plan to remain a small, regional business for some time, it is best to prepare for future growth by filing for a federal trademark registration.
A Trademark Protects You Against Infringement
Maintaining control of your dietary supplement brand is a critical part of your success as a business owner. Unfortunately, brand control can be lost when other companies begin to use similar trademarks to represent competing products. When your mark is used by others in the marketplace, either intentionally or unintentionally, it can create confusion with potential customers, which could ultimately sway them away from your business. A federal trademark registration will provide you with stronger legal rights if you ever need to address such an infringement.
Once you’ve become a federally registered trademark owner, you can begin using the ® symbol. Place it wherever your trademark is visible, from product labeling to your website and signage. This serves as pubic notice that your mark has been registered with the USPTO, which is often all that is needed to deter others from using it. However, if you find evidence of potential infringement, you should consider taking legal action. Failing to police the use of your mark could decrease the control of your brand, as well as customer recognition. One important note here: never take legal action without first consulting with an attorney.
A Trademark Protects You from Infringing on Others
While it is crucial to find and take action against potential infringers, it is equally important to avoid infringing on another business’s mark. Prior to submitting your application to the USPTO, you should work with an attorney to conduct a comprehensive trademark search. This will determine if a similar mark has already been registered.
If you select an adopt a brand name without conducting a trademark search it could be a costly mistake, especially if you learn you’ve been unintentionally infringing on another mark. It can certainly be frustrating to learn that the mark you’ve chosen is unavailable, but it is better to know that before you buy product labels, promotional gear, marketing material, and more. If another business discovers the infringement, they may be within their legal rights to require you to stop sales and rebrand your business, which is both time consuming and costly.
A U.S. Trademark is the First Step to an International Trademark Registration
The protections provided by a federally registered trademark are valuable to your dietary supplement brand, but these legal protections only cover trademark disputes that arise within the United States. In today’s global economy, however, it isn’t farfetched to assume that one day you’ll reach customers outside the U.S. In order to gain trademark protection internationally, you must register your trademark internationally. An international trademark registration allows you to maintain control of your brand in any country you plan to do business. This is especially important in first-to-file countries, like China, where bad faith registrations are all too common.
One of the least expensive ways to file internationally is through the Madrid Protocol. This is an international treaty that allows registrants to file a single application which can then be applied to more than 90 member countries. The first step to filing through the Madrid Protocol, however, is to first file with the USPTO. You may also choose to file your trademark directly with each country’s trademark office. With this option, if your international application is submitted within six months of your U.S. application, you are able to maintain the same priority date. This significant advantage deters others from beating you to the trademark office to register your trademark.
Trademark Protection for Your Dietary Supplement Brand
Whether you’re currently developing your first dietary supplement or you’ve been growing your brand for years, now is the time to register your trademark with the USPTO. From the presumption of nationwide validity that comes with a registration to legal protections against infringement, the benefits of a registered trademark far outweigh the minimal costs to obtain one. Continuing to develop your dietary supplement brand without a federally registered trademark could be a time consuming and costly mistake. Our firm offers experienced trademark attorneys if you would like assistance in clearing and registering your trademark.