The 10 Reasons Why You Should Register Your Business’s Trademark
Trademarks are titles, words, names, and symbols that represent a brand or company. This sets a product or service apart from similar goods in the same industry and establishes a company’s branding. As a business owner, you can opt to either register a service mark or a trademark for a service and a product, respectively.
There are millions of businesses across the globe, so to stand out, businesses rely on the strength of their branding and marketing. Creating a unique brand to market your products and services, however, is only the first step. To protect the designs, slogans, and logos you’ve created and secure your brand against potential competitors and copycats, you must protect your trademarks.
The Trademark Registration Process
Registering a trademark may appear challenging, but it’s fairly straightforward—though lengthy. Here’s what you need to know about the trademark registration process:
How to register a trademark at the federal level
Follow these steps to federally register your business’s trademark:
Fill up the required forms and submit your trademark registration to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to get the ball rolling.
You will need to:
Determine the type of trademark you want to register
Identify and classify the types of products and services you’re offering
Identify the filing basis
Choose between the TEAS Plus and the TEAS Standard application forms for filing your trademark registration
Once your application comes in, it will be reviewed and studied by the assigned examining attorney. The attorney will compare your trademark application to the USPTO’s database of already registered trademarks (they will performe a trademark search) to ensure that your trademark isn’t infringing on other brands’ trademarks.
If there are no conflicts with your brand’s trademark registration, the examining attorney will approve your trademark application.
Once your trademark application is approved, it would then be made public for 30 days. This will allow external parties to view it and contest it. If they have any problems with your trademark application, they can file an “opposition” claim.
If there are no objections, your application will be cleared and approved for final registration.
How long does it take to get your trademark registered at the federal level?
On average, the whole application process of registering your trademark at the federal level will take eight to ten months. However, there may be times when some applications receive what is called an “Office Action”.
An “Office Action” is a request sent by the USPTO for the business to alter the language they used in their trademark application. This may be because the trademark is similar to an existing trademark in the USPTO’s system. When this happens, it slightly slows down the approval process because you will need to edit your trademark application accordingly and ensure that it doesn’t infringe on any registered trademarks. However, this is necessary for a trademark to get fully approved.
While the process for registering a trademark takes quite a bit of time, there are ways to expedite it. However, there are only a limited number of scenarios where you can hurry up the registration process. Here are some of the most-commonly approved instances:
If you need to have your trademark application expedited, you must fill out a petition. This petition needs to show sufficient evidence that your application process needs to be sped up, and it will have to be because of one of the three issues above.
It’s important to note, however, that even if your application process is expedited, registration will still take around five to six months.
Do all businesses need to register a trademark to sell their products and services?
The short answer is no, you don’t need to register your trademark to sell your products and services. However, not registering your trademark could leave your brand vulnerable to copycats or similar branding by other companies. You may also be unknowingly infringing on another brand’s trademark. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good business practice to have trademarks or service marks registered.
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property refers to a business, organization, or individual’s property rights for their trademarks, copyrights, and patents. These rights are granted by the Constitution of the United States, and they are granted once a trademark is registered and given official ownership.
The cost of registering your trademark
You would need to prepare a certain amount to get your trademark registered, but the total amount depends on a few factors:
How many products or services you include in your trademark application
Attorney fees for filing your trademark application
Government fees based on your trademark classes and similarities to other marks in the USPTO’s database
Trademarks are meant to make an impact on your target consumers and set your business apart from its competitors. That’s why it’s important to choose a strong trademark that consumers can easily recognize and will associate with your brand.
There are three main types of trademarks on the market:
Arbitrary. These are words that a brand trademarks that don’t have anything to do with a brand’s products or services. For example, Apple® is a registered trademark for a tech giant that specializes in consumer tech, but it doesn’t produce actual apples.
Fanciful. Fanciful trademarks are words that a company or business made up. Some examples of this are Coca-Cola® and Kodak®.
Suggestive. Suggestive trademarks suggest the quality or highlight the ability of a brand’s products or services. An example of this type of trademark is Jaguar®, which suggests that its cars are very fast. Another example is KitchenAid®, which suggests that the products the brand is selling are helpful and useful in the kitchen.
When it comes to having your trademark registered, it’s highly recommended that you work with a professional legal team to ensure a smooth and efficient trademark application process. Legal professionals are well-versed with the entire application procedure and can provide you with all the necessary advice required to get your trademark registered in the United States.
The Importance of Registering Your Business’s Trademark
As a business owner, your business’s brand is one of your most valuable assets, and you need to provide it with full protection. This can be done by registering your business’s trademark.
Now that you have an overview of the trademark registration process, here are the benefits of having your trademark registered.
1. Registering your trademark establishes your legal ownership
Registering your trademark allows you to take legal action against those that may want to illegally use or outright copy your business’s identity. Some countries provide limited trademark rights that are dependent on how the trademark is being used, but this is not the case in most major countries.
Not having your trademark registered early also makes it easier to compromise your brand identity once you scale your business and gain traction against your competitors.
2. Having a registered trademark lets your business operate more freely
If you don’t register your trademark in your country of business, it’s possible that another business in a different country will. It’s highly likely that this is unintentional, as there are over 15,000 trademarks filed across the globe every day.
However, if someone else gets the same trademark registered before you, this hinders your business’s potential growth in the international market. Additionally, you could run into some legal issues once the brand is scaled, which could cost a business owner a fair amount of money.
3. Other brands and businesses have knowledge of the trademark’s existence
When a brand registers a business’s trademark, it becomes public knowledge. The trademark information can be accessed, and it will show you as the rightful owner of the mark. This means other brands and businesses establishing their own trademarks can find it, and it will reduce the likelihood of trademark infringement.
4. A registered trademark allows you to save on resources
In today’s digital age, intellectual property is more likely to be stolen or infringed upon. Whether a trademark’s rights are infringed upon or you end up infringing upon another business’s trademark rights, this will cost all involved parties money.
Getting a trademark registered is relatively inexpensive, and it will save you a lot of precious resources in case of any conflicts.
5. A registered trademark allows you to foster better relationships with business partners
Local partners in countries across the globe require that a business’s trademark be legalized and protected. This is because local partners will be the face of the brand in their region, and they will be vulnerable to potential infringement issues and knock-offs of a product that hasn’t been protected by a registered trademark.
Having a brand’s trademark registered shows a business’s local partners that they have their partners’ best interests in mind. It’s also indicative of their business integrity. As a result of this, registered brands can solidify relationships with their partners and attract more potential partners.
6. This increases a brand’s value
With a registered trademark, a brand’s value goes up. ISO standard (10668:2010) states that having a registered trademark is one of the three main components of a brand’s value. This is likely because a registered trademark ensures that a mark is unique in the market, and consumers are more likely to have brand recall whenever they encounter that particular mark.
7. A registered trademark allows you to secure business loans
A trademark can be used as a business’s collateral when you’re trying to secure a business loan. However, lenders will only consider a trademark as collateral if it’s registered because this is the only way a trademark will have rights and legal protection.
8. Trademarks work fast on the target audience
The ® symbol is an effective marketing tool to consumers, and it’s a powerful form of visual communication to both brands and individuals alike. It lets potential customers know that the brand’s owner believes in the integrity of its product or service enough to have it trademarked. It also shows that the brand is valuable. This helps develops the consumers’ trust, and it helps brands build a relationship with their customers.
9. You are offered federal and state protection
By registering a trademark, you’re given exclusive use of the mark within a certain geographical area. The trademark laws differ per state, but most states offer an added layer of protection when it comes to trademark infringement if the trademark is registered in a particular state.
Additionally, a federal-level trademark registration gives you ownership rights across the country for that mark. These rights protect you even if you aren’t doing business nationally.
10. A registered trademark helps attract investors
Similar to a brand’s local partners, having a registered trademark helps attract investors because it signifies a business’s legitimacy. It also shows them that you’re committed to ensuring the brand’s, as well as the investors’, business is well-protected. Investors are mainly concerned about growing their investment, which can only happen if the business is able to operate without a hitch. Additionally, investors are more likely to trust a business that cares about intellectual property protection.
A business’s growth can be impeded without trademarks, as it will lack the full legal protection that being registered on the USPTO database can offer.
Working with a Professional Trademark Registration Company
Registering your business’s trademark is a must to protect your brand. However, business owners may find it difficult to keep track of a trademark application’s requirements on top of maintaining business operations. As such, working with a professional trademark registration company can make your trademark registration process much smoother. This would help you effectively and efficiently secure your trademark registration while allowing you to focus on income-generating activities.
Nominus.com specializes in international trademark registration and offers domain registration services. Here, we prioritize growing your brand globally and making sure that you’re equipped with full legal protection for all your products and services. Our years of experience and extensive network of legal contacts made us one of the best in the business. Inquire with us today to get your trademark registered.