Your brand represents and distinguishes your business in every way. Establishing rights and ownership to a brand name, symbol, or design is important to ensure that your business’s reputation, good name, and credibility are protected. That said, if you want to protect your brand from intellectual property misuse or infringement, registering for a trademark is essential.
Business owners have the option to trademark their business on their own, work with an attorney or use an online trademark registration platform like bonamark.com. The latter takes away the hassle of registering your business trademark on your own, so you can focus more on your company.
Understanding A Trademark
In general, trademarks are considered a form of intellectual property. It is defined as a word, symbol, insignia, phrase, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes a specific product and legally differentiates it from all other items and products of its kind
In short, a trademark identifies a product exclusively belonging to a specific company and recognizes the business’s ownership of a brand.
Benefits of Trademark Registration
For new entrepreneurs, going through the process of trademark registration may seem like a lengthy, costly, and unnecessary hassle. However, it is important to secure a trademark registration for the following reasons:
1. Infringement Protection
Having control of your brand is key to the success of a business. One way that a business loses control of its brand is when other businesses use similar logos and names for competing products.
When another business attempts to use your brand in the marketplace—unintentionally or intentionally—it creates confusion amongst customers that could sway them away from your business.
So, to have exclusive rights to your brand, registering a trademark is a must. Once you’ve registered your business trademark, you can take legal action against anyone who infringes—or uses the same or similar logo, name, or slogan as your company.
2. Offers Nationwide Validity
In the US, an individual or business may have rights to a trademark simply by using the logo or brand name in the public domain. However, these common law rights are often limited. If your business has an unregistered mark, you may face issues when seeking legal actions against property infringement.
Plus, common law rights only apply to small, geographic areas where your business is located. This can be problematic if you’re looking to expand your business to other markets where a similar trademark is already in use.
By registering a trademark, you’re giving it validity nationwide. Registering your trademark provides valuable protection against property infringement in all 50 states and not just in your city or region. As a result, you can grow and expand your business to other areas without the fear of infringing on existing trademarks.
3. Enhance Customer Relationship
With the fierce competition in the business world, standing out from the crowd is a must for businesses. A strong trademark can help make your business easily recognized and memorable. This way, customers can sort through the crowded industry and niche to locate you.
It also helps in building customer relationships. The established quality of your services and products will be known by customers through a trademark. This establishes goodwill and trust among customers in the market, allowing you to create brand-loyal customers.
Not only that, but a trademark also makes it easy for customers to find your products. It makes your products and their identity different from that of counterfeit or even legitimate competitors.
It also gives recognition to your product or service quality. Customers often attach quality to the brand name. This image and reputation are created through trademark, allowing customers to differentiate the quality of your trademarked product from those that don’t.
4. Right To Use the ® Symbol
Once you register your business trademark, you can start marketing your products and services with the ® symbol.
This simple symbol notifies the public that your mark is registered with the government and that you, as the owner, enjoy all the accompanying benefits of the registration.
The symbol also gives your mark greater credibility and notifies infringers that you take your intellectual property rights seriously. As a result, it can prevent or deter others from infringing your brand.
5. Valuable Asset
The investments you’ve made for your business such as marketing materials, technology, and equipment, are essential for its growth and survival. However, they won’t increase in value over time.
A trademark, however, is an investment that will increase over time. For minimal upfront cost and renewal fees, a trademark is a valuable asset on your books that only increases in value as you expand and grow your business.
Plus, a trademark can also be beneficial for your business’s future as well. Although you may not be thinking of selling your business, you should know that a trademark, like any other asset, can be sold with your business.
In fact, investors or people interested in buying a business, require a registered trademark. They offer a higher value on companies with a registered trademark, knowing that protection has already been put in place.
How To Trademark Your Business
Applying for a trademark is quite easy and quick. However, the entire process can take several months.
- Decide whether or not a trademark is right for your business. In general, you’ll need a trademark if you want to protect your brand. However, if you have a project or invention you want to protect, then you should go with a patent instead.
- If you decide that trademark is needed, you need to choose the mark that you’ll submit to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Make sure that the phrase, name, or design you’re trying to register for a trademark is unique and can be differentiated for protection.
- Apply to the USPTO by creating an account and filling out the application forms. You can track your application status through the USPTO website.
- Once your application is accepted, you’ll be assigned to a USPTO lawyer who will review your application. They will review the trademark’s validity which could take a few months. The lawyer may also contact you in case they need extra information.
- You’ll receive either an approval in a week via USPTO publication or a rejection letter. If your trademark was rejected, you can always appeal for a fee.
- To maintain your trademark, you need to file maintenance documents two months after the USPTO sends the registration. If you don’t fill out these documents in time, your trademark will expire. Also, make sure to always check the status of your trademark every year via the USPTO website.
Your brand is an essential part of your business. You spend a great deal of money, time, and effort to build your company and its reputation. Protecting this reputation is important to survival and future success. That said, registering a trademark can help drive value and significantly reduce risk. It may not be a simple process, but the protection it affords your brand is definitely worth your effort and time.