If you own or manage a business, you have at least one trademark- the name of your company. In addition to that, you most likely have product and service names, logos, slogans, and other trademarks that are valuable assets to your business. In order to protect these trademarks, it’s important to register them with the USPTO.
Here are three main reasons every business should consider federally protecting their trademarks.
1. Registered trademarks help you avoid conflicts in the marketplace
In today’s marketplace, businesses need to ensure they will not have a conflict with another trademark. In the world of Google, if you launch a business or a product with a name that conflicts with somebody else’s, that other business is going to find out quickly. If you start coming up when they search their own company, product, or service’s name, you could receive a cease and desist letter, or worse, you could be sued for trademark infringement.
The most important thing you will likely own as part of your business is the name of your company or offerings. Before you settle on it and invest in it, you must conduct a proper trademark search to ensure that name is clear. One thing to avoid is free online trademark search tools. These are not sufficient to properly clear a trademark. On the flipside, there are numerous trademark attorneys that can assist you at a reasonable rate.
2. Registered trademarks provide you with national legal protection
Every business should federally register their trademark in the United States. A federal trademark registration provides the presumption of national validity of your brand. It allows you to put the circled R next to your name, logo, slogan, or your product or service line. This inherently protects your brand in the marketplace.
By having your trademark registered, people can view your registration on a very public database. When others come across your registration, they will likely be deterred from using something that’s identical or very similar. Moreover, if that deterrent doesn’t work and somebody infringes on your trademark, having that registration allows you to take various enforcement steps in today’s marketplace. It might allow you to sue someone in a federal court, to take down an infringing product off of Amazon, or to police third party websites.
However, don’t wait for a problem to become apparent before deciding to register your trademarks. It can take 8 to 10 months, at a minimum, to obtain a federal trademark registration. It’s a very significant legal right, so the process takes a long time. Start the process before you have a problem, rather than reacting once a problem takes place.
3. Registered trademarks are an asset that grows in value with your brand
Trademarks are an asset on your books that grow in value with your brand. If you have the goal of selling your business or bringing on investors, the first question you are going to get in a due diligence when someone’s evaluating your business and its value, is whether or not you own the trademarks. The more recognition your brand has in the marketplace, the more the trademark registration is worth to a potential buyer or investor. If you anticipate taking your business in that direction, having your trademarks registered is absolutely something you need to consider.
As you can see, every business should be thinking about how to protect their trademarks in today’s marketplace. If you have any further questions, you can always contact us by clicking on this link.