Do I need a Trademark?

Do I need a trademark?

Are you a business owner who is considering filling for a trademark?  Here are several things you need to know: 

Even without realizing it, you, as a consumer, deal with trademarks on a day to day basis.  A trademark is a brand name, and includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of others.   

The purchasing decisions of consumers are influenced by the trademark and reputation of the brands they identify.  Trademarks serve as an effective communication tool to the consumer, as they can convey attributes about your company and the company’s products or services.  Your business’ trademark may not necessarily be a word or phrase, but a design.  Consider the Ralph Lauren Polo Horse, or the Nike Swoosh, both recognizable and identifiable in almost any language.   

Trademarks can help to distinguish your business from your competitors and are an efficient way to capture the attention of consumers to help your business stand out from the crowd. In today’s world, trademarks can allow a business to effectively utilize social media and the internet.   

Trademarks themselves can be a valuable asset and may greatly appreciate in value over the life of your business.  Like other assets, trademarks can be sold, licensed, or used as a security interest to grow your business.   

If you manage your trademark correctly, they never expire, so long as you are using the mark in commerce.  Many recognizable brands have been around for decades or longer in the United States.   

Branding is key

Branding is critical to any business owner.  We recommend doing your due diligence before launching you brand, and a key part of that making sure your brand is available and will not infringe on anyone’s rights.  Failing to conduct the proper research can lead to a denial of the trademark protection you are seeking, or a potential lawsuit from another brand due to infringement.  Spending the time and money up front to determine brand availability and to help you protect your business in the long run can help avoid the potential high costs of a trademark dispute and litigation.  Though federal registration of a trademark is not mandatory, it can have great advantages to your business; notice to the public of the ownership of the mark, legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or  services listed in the registration. 

If you are considering filing for a trademark, we can help guide you through the application process.