Greetings. I’m trademark attorney Josh Gerben, and today I want to talk a little bit about why you should register your trademark. I always tell clients there are really two reasons. One is practical and the other is legal.
The legal reason that you should register your trademark is that if there is somebody that’s infringing on your trademark, you can sue them in any court in the land, and you can enforce that trademark in all 50 states. At the end of the day, filing a lawsuit is really expensive, and it rarely happens.
So we get into the practical reasons why you should register a trademark, and there’s a lot of them. The first is it’s a great deterrent. A lot of people will start by doing a search on Google, and maybe they’ll end up on the US Government website and do a rudimentary trademark search. When that happens, when your application or registration comes up, they’re going to say, “Oh, wait a second, somebody’s already got this trademark.” 90 to 95% of people out there are good actors. They’re looking for other trademarks because they don’t want to infringe. So when they see yours, they’ll say, “Oh, somebody has already got this. I’m going to go a different direction.”
Now, is there going to be 5% or 10% of people that are just going to infringe on your trademark no matter what? That’s always possible, unfortunately. That’s, again, why we have the legal reasons that we register the mark.
Another very common reason why you should register a trademark is the enforcement you can do short of filing a lawsuit. In today’s world, you have a lot of major Internet companies, like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So if somebody had a Facebook user name that was identical to your trademark, if you own the federal registration, we can file something with Facebook. It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. You make a filing with Facebook, and you say, “Hey, someone is using my trademark in your system. We need you to help us stop this.” Facebook will review it and many times side with the owner of the federal registration and just simply give you the user name or give you the page back that’s using your trademark.
This is true with a variety of Internet companies. So because the Internet is so pervasive in our culture and in business today, just being able to go to these companies and ask for help is important. A lot of times if you don’t have the federal registration, there’s nothing they can really do to help you. They’re relying on the federal system themselves to try to figure out who owns what.
One other point here is that to get an actual registration takes at minimum eight months. So it’s really important to get this done sooner rather than later. We want to make sure we have the tools and the toolkit available to go out there and enforce the trademark as we can.