The question of registering a trademark comes up at various times for business owners, in Corpus Christi and beyond. Savvy entrepreneurs in the early stages of their companies are probably aware of the benefits of a trademark, but may be unsure when the right time is for them to register. More established Corpus Christi business owners without a registered federal trademark run the risk of complacency – figuring that they haven’t had a problem yet, so they’ll wait to register.
And then there are the unfortunate examples that prove just why trademark registration is so important – those business owners who have experienced situations like infringement on their name or brand to the point where another company benefitted from their good name, or worse: a trademark challenge brought by another company preventing them from even using their name anymore.
Those worst-case scenarios are just two of the reasons why you should, in fact, register a trademark with a trademark attorney for your Corpus Christi, Texas business. A trademark will help you avoid more than just those situations, though. They give you greater protection over your business name and reputation and can help prevent those problems before they even happen. Trademark ownership gives you a wealth of proactive options to keep your business and reputation intact, and will often prevent or deter infringement or legal battles from arising in the first place. And even if they do, you have greater legal leverage to defend yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at why the answer is yes: you should trademark the name of your Corpus Christi-based business with the assistance of a trademark attorney. Here are four more reasons:
1) You can be confident that your trademark belongs to you alone.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office has the primary goal of preventing consumer confusion as to the source or origin of a product or service. Trademarks are intended to clearly identify, without risk of confusion, the manufacturer or provider of a particular commodity. As such, the USPTO will not grant a trademark to a company where another company in the same, or a similar industry, is already using the same, or a similar name. The federal trademark registration process helps you from inadvertently infringing on an existing mark, a situation that can result in you having to choose a new name for your business (even if you were already established in Corpus Christi) and potentially pay damages to the original mark’s owner.
Although the USPTO will reject a potentially infringing mark, the examiners do not always catch every potential infringement. Therefore, you can always end up with a registration and a few years later receive a cease and desist notice. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to conducting a comprehensive trademark search with an experience trademark lawyer prior to submitting your application can prevent a trademark rejection, and, potentially an infringement lawsuit down the road. It is important to note that while the USPTO offers a free trademark search tool on its Web site, a trademark attorney can assist you with a more wide-ranging search tool covering more potential conflicts.
Keep in mind that a federal trademark covers all businesses in the United States. Gerben Law Firm, LLC is not based in Corpus Christi, TX, but its trademark attorneys are able to assist you with a trademark registration through the USPTO as a federal matter.
2) You have immutable proof of your mark’s date of first use.
Trademark priority is defined by the date of first use of a mark (note: not the date of first registration). With an unregistered mark, however, another business can come along later and try to claim that they were the first to use that mark, and you have to produce evidence that you were using the mark before them. This is especially difficult if you are conducting business locally in Corpus Christi and aren’t even aware of other national businesses that might be using the same name. A registered trademark gives you proof and protection against those kinds of situations – it proves beyond a doubt when you began using your mark, leaving you with no further burden of proof, and it protects you nationally from any other businesses.
3) You gain robust legal protections.
Federal trademark owners are entitled to a number of legal protections that unregistered marks don’t receive. Among them: you can challenge any USPTO application that you feel infringes upon your mark by being too similar; you are entitled to greater damages should you lose substantial business from an infringing party, and you have the support of the USPTO in forcing infringing parties to cease illicit use of your mark, or one confusingly similar to it.