Deciding if You Need a Trademark and How to Register a Trademark?
The Sul Lee Law Firm focuses in Trademark registration. We frequently encounter clients who want to know if they need to register their trademark. To answer that question, it is essential that you first understand what a trademark is and what registration accomplishes.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase, design, or some combination that identifies your business or products. A trademark is uniquely associated with your company and helps you build brand recognition. A trademark is an intellectual property, and as such, it is eligible for the full protection of intellectual property laws.
Think about the famous checkmark that the world associates with Nike products, or the distinct red and white coloring of Coca Cola products. Not all trademarks are as well known, but a trademark represents the name of your business and stands as a symbol of the reputation you have worked hard to build.
Do I Need to Register My Trademark?
You have some protection, under common law, from other businesses using the name of your business or your trademark. You do need to consider filing for trademark registration if your company fits in one of the below categories.
Highly Competitive Industry
Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, cosmetics, fashion, and technology are all examples of highly competitive markets. The more competitive the field, the more you need to protect your reputation and help your business stand apart from the competition.
For example, if your restaurant has a signature menu, you want that menu to be protected from the competition creating a similar menu with similar dishes and capitalizing off the hard work you invested into your reputation.
If you plan to franchise your business, a trademark will be a necessity. A trademark is a legal right that you will grant to the franchisees, so protecting your exclusive right to determine who uses the trademark is crucial for a successful franchise.
The goal of a franchise is to be able to replicate your business model, again and again, building your brand and name recognition as you do.
A Service or Item That is Easily Accessible
If your business model relies on marketing a service or selling items for which there is a large market, you will work hard to establish both your reputation and your customer base. You want to protect this hard work by registering your trademark, which will prevent other companies from imitating your efforts.
How to Register a Trademark
A trademark is registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Registering your trademark protects you from infringement, copying, or imitating your trademark by your competitors. Trademark registration is the cheapest and smartest way to create exclusive rights to the originality of your brand and the hard work you have put into building the value of your name and reputation.
How Does Trademark Protection Work?
There are two different forms of trademark protection. One type of protection occurs passively, through common law. The other protection is an active measure that happens when you complete the USPTO trademark registration process.
Common-Law Trademark Protection
When you use your trademark in everyday business commerce, you can automatically acquire trademark rights under common law. Common law provides that if you are the first business to use the trademark within a set geographical area, then your rights to the trademark will be considered superior to those of any later competition.
The distinct advantage of common-law trademark protection is that it requires no active measures on your part. The protection is automatically conferred to your business. However, the disadvantage of common-law trademark protection is that it is limited to a small geographic region. If someone infringes on your common-law rights to your trademark, it will also be your responsibility to prove you had first rights to the use of the trademark.
Sul Lee Law Firm
To discuss the trademark process, or if you have any questions, contact the Sul Lee Law Firm at (214) 202-4064 to schedule a Legal Strategy Session. You have worked hard to establish your business reputation, and trademark registration is an easy and cost-effective way to protect your hard work. We look forward to working with you to make sure your company is successful and protected.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposed only. If you require specific legal advice you should contact a professional lawyer. To find out more about trademark registration, please contact us