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Trademark Protection – Everything You Need To Know About It

When you’re starting a business, one of the most important things to do is protect your brand. A trademark is a valuable asset for any company, and it’s crucial to register yours as soon as possible. Here’s everything you need to know about trademark protection and why it’s an essential step for your business.

What Is A Trademark?

A trademark is any distinctive mark, sign, or symbol used to identify a particular manufacturer or merchant’s products. A trademark can be a word, phrase, logo, image, or even a sound. It is intended to prevent others from selling similar products by confusing customers about who the products’ true manufacturer or source is.

Over time, a trademark can become so well-known that it acquires a “secondary meaning,” meaning that it identifies the source of the product and has come to represent the product itself. For example, “Kleenex” is often a generic term for tissue paper, even though Kleenex is a brand name.

The trademark owner may lose some legal protection because the mark is no longer considered distinctive. A trademark must be used in commerce and associated in consumers’ minds with a particular source of goods or services to remain protectable.

The Benefits Of A Trademark

There are many benefits to registering your trademark, including:

  • Establish a Legal Presumption That You Own the Mark: Registering your trademark with the USPTO gives you a legal presumption that you own the mark nationwide. This is important because if someone else tries to use your mark, you will have a much easier time proving ownership in court and stopping them from using it.
  • Gain Exclusive Rights to Use the Mark: Once your trademark is registered, you will have exclusive rights to use it in connection with the goods and services listed in your registration. No one else will be able to use an identical or similar mark for the same or similar products without your permission.
  • Prevent Others From Registering a Similar Mark: Trademark registration can also prevent others from registering a similar mark for their products. If someone else tries to register a mark that is too similar to yours, the USPTO will refuse their registration.
  • Put the World on Notice That You Claim Ownership of the Mark: A registered trademark is a public record that gives notice to everyone that you claim ownership of the mark. This notice can deter others from trying to use a similar mark and make it easier to stop them if they do.

The Process Of Trademark Protection

Now that you know the benefits of trademark protection let’s look at the process.

There are two main ways to protect your trademark: registration and use.

Trademark Registration

You can register your trademark by applying with the USPTO. The application must include:

  • The name and address of the applicant: The applicant must be the owner of the mark.
  • A clear description of the mark: The description should include a drawing of the mark if it is a design or a transcription of the mark if it is a word or phrase.
  • The goods and services that will be used with the mark: The application must identify the specific goods and services that the mark will be used with. You can include a broad range of goods and services or narrow the scope to only those you are currently using the mark.
  • The filing fee: The current filing fee for online trademark applications is $250 to $350 per class of goods and services.

After you file your application, an examining attorney at the USPTO will review it to make sure that it meets all the legal requirements. If it does, the mark will be published for opposition.

This is when any third parties who believe the registration of your mark would harm them have a chance to file an objection with the USPTO. If there are no objections or any raised objections are overcome, your trademark will be registered!

Trademark Use

You can also protect your trademark through use. This means using it in commerce- in other words, to identify the source of your goods or services. You don’t need to register your trademark to use it, but registration has some benefits.

For example, registering your trademark gives you a legal presumption of ownership nationwide. This is important because if someone else tries to use your mark, you will have a much easier time proving ownership in court and stopping them from using it.

Common Issues That Occur During The Trademark Registration Process

A few common issues can occur during the trademark registration process. Here are some of the most common:

  • The mark is too similar to an existing mark: It may be refused registration if your mark is too similar to a current mark. This is because there is a risk of confusion between the two marks. To avoid this issue, search existing marks before choosing yours thoroughly.
  • The mark is descriptive or generic: Descriptive and generic terms are not eligible for trademark protection. They describe the goods or services rather than identify the source. To avoid this issue, choose a mark that is distinctive and not descriptive of your goods or services.
  • The goods and services are not properly described: The goods and services must be defined correctly in the application. The description determines which category the mark will be registered in. If the description is too broad, it may be rejected. To avoid this issue, describe the goods and services accurately and precisely.
  • The mark is not used in commerce: To register a trademark, you must be using it in commerce. This means that you must be using it to identify the source of your goods or services. If you are not using the mark in commerce, it cannot be registered.

Tips For Protecting Your Brand’s Trademarks

Here are some tips for protecting your brand’s trademarks:

  1. Do a thorough search before selecting a mark. This will help you avoid choosing a mark that is too similar to an existing one.
  2. Make sure the mark is distinctive and not descriptive of your goods or services. This will help you avoid issues with the USPTO.
  3. Use the mark in commerce. This is necessary to register the trademark.
  4. Monitor the use of your mark. This will help you catch any unauthorized use early on and take action to stop it.
  5. Enforce your rights when necessary. If someone uses your trademark without permission, you may need legal action to stop them.

By following these tips or simply implementing a professional trademark monitoring software, you can help protect your brand’s trademarks and keep your business safe.

Conclusion

Trademark registration is a critical step in protecting your business and its branding. It establishes your legal rights to the trademark and can provide significant legal protection against others who might try to use a similar mark. Use these tips to help protect your trademarks and keep your business safe.

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