If you are an entrepreneur starting your own business, there are a lot of considerations, necessary licenses, permits and important decisions to make. One area of your business that is of great importance is your intellectual property. This includes company trademarks.
Trademarks are used to distinguish the source of a product. A trademark might be a symbol, a word or a phrase. If your business provides services rather than goods, then you would refer to one of these identifying symbols as a service mark rather than a trademark.
Some examples of trademarks can include the name of a company, the slogan or catchphrase used by a company, a company mascot, and even the lyrics to a song that was used by a company for advertising purposes.
Trademarks are not the only kind of intellectual property, and they are sometimes confused with patents and copyrights. Patents are used to give a person rights to an invention, like a new form of engine. Copyrights are used to protect things like an original work of art. You might be in a business where you use all of these things, but you also might not need all of these depending on the type of business you are involved in.
Trademarks are very important to business owners, as they are a great way for customers to recognize your brand and for your products to be protected from infringement. In the case of non-verbal symbols, your trademark can even make your brand recognizable in foreign countries where a name or slogan might not translate well or be easily identifiable to many consumers.
Additionally, as your business grows and increases in value, your trademark itself might become worth something.
If you start using a symbol, name or slogan for business purposes, you can attain a common law trademark. However, the protection provided by this is minimal. You might be limited to enforcing your ownership of the trademark only within a particular region, and your relief, if someone decided to use your trademark, would likely be limited to a court ruling that they had to stop using the trademarked item.
In contrast to the common law trademark, you can also register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By doing this, you can get extra protection on your trademark. For instance, your trademark will be protected nationwide rather than just in one region. Other businesses will also be on notice of the fact that your trademark is protected. If you do find that you need to sue for infringement, you can collect damages for things like lost sales as a result of someone profiting from your good reputation. In some cases, if you have to sue, you can even recover your legal fees. Thus, you will have a better way to enforce your trademark than if your only recourse was to get another business to cease using your intellectual property.
There are many reasons to register a trademark. If you have questions regarding how best to protect your trademark, contact the experienced business attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm today by calling 864-982-5930.