Today, I want to talk about why you should register your trademark. I always tell my clients that there are two major reasons behind pursuing a federal trademark registration: one is practical and the other is legal.
Deterrents: The Practical Reason for Registering a Trademark
The practical reasons behind obtaining a trademark are numerous and much more diverse. First, trademarks are excellent deterrents. A lot of people, once they have an interest in pursuing a trademark, will start with a Google search. This search may result in your website or social media popping up, which could stop them right there.
Alternatively, this search may have them end up on the U.S. Government’s Patent and Trademark website, where they can perform a rudimentary trademark search. When that happens and your application or registration comes up, they’re going to say, “Oh, wait a second, somebody’s already got this trademark.” The vast majority of people out there are good actors; they’re looking for other trademarks because they don’t want to infringe upon one that is already active. When they see yours, they will say, “Oh, somebody has already got this. I’m going to go a different direction.”
Now, is there going to be a small minority of people that are just going to infringe on your trademark no matter what? Unfortunately, that is always a possibility. Because of that group, we have the legal motivations behind pursuing a registered trademark.
National Rights Protection: Legal Motivation for Obtaining a Trademark
The major legal reason to seek a trademark registration is protection from infringement. If someone is encroaching upon your rights within the mark, your trademark registration will enable you to take action against them. This means that you can sue them in any court within the United States, therefore enforcing your mark nationwide. While this rarely happens due to the costly nature of lawsuits, the registration itself is usually sufficient enough to dissuade those who may consider infringing upon your trademark.
Now, is there going to be a small minority of people that are just going to infringe on your trademark no matter what? That is always possible, unfortunately. Because of that group, we have the legal motivations behind pursuing a registered trademark.
Trademark Enforcement: Saving You the Cost of a Lawsuit
Another very common reason to register a trademark is that it affords you the ability to enforce your rights, without a costly lawsuit. In today’s world, you have a lot of major Internet companies, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Let’s say someone has a Facebook page under a name that is identical to your trademark and you own the federal registration. This registration allows you to file an opposition with Facebook. It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare and allows you to say, “Hey, someone is using my trademark in your system. We need you to help us stop this.” Facebook will review it and, in many cases, will side with the owner of the federal registration and just simply give you the username or page that is using the trademark.
This rings true with a variety of Internet companies. As the virtual marketplace expands and more commerce moves online, the ability to stop infringement before it goes too far is incredibly useful. Due to the pervasiveness of Internet culture in business today, having the ability to contact major companies and ask for their help in removing infringements is critical. In many cases, if you do not own the federal registration, there’s not much they can do to help you, as they are relying on the federal system themselves to figure out who owns what.
Lastly, it is important to note that trademark registration takes a minimum of eight months to achieve registration. This means it is essential to get an application filed as soon as possible, to ensure that your mark is as well-protected as it can be. You want to make sure that you have the tools available to go out there and enforce your trademark as soon as needed. If you are interested in getting started with an application, please get in touch with an attorney at Gerben Perrott today for a free consultation.