Why Should Business Owners Register a Trademark?
One of the most important things a business should do when starting is to register its trademark. The Trademark Office defines the trademark as being “any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” In most cases, the trademark will be the name of the business or the logo.
However, some entrepreneurs wonder whether they should bother registering their trademark. They may not see the need or realize that it can provide them with benefits that having an unregistered trademark might not. Trademarks are valuable and can provide your business with the protection it needs.
Benefit #1: Easy to Find in a Database
While this might not seem like a major benefit, it can be. By registering your trademark, it becomes searchable in the federal database. This means that anyone else who is considering a trademark similar to yours will find your trademark when they search for availability. This will help to discourage other people from using their similar trademark, which will help to stop any potential problems or conflicts even before they begin.
Benefit #2: Protection from Flagrant Copycats
The first benefit helps to protect your company from people mistakenly using a similar or same name or logo. However, it can also help you when it comes to people and other companies that try to profit off of the hard work that you’ve put into your brand. Some will try to use the same or similar name and logo to attempt to pull your customers from you. Having a registered trademark will provide you with legal protection, so you can take legal action against these copycats.
Benefit #3: Trademarks Last
Another benefit of registering your trademark is that you only have to do it once. After your trademark is fully registered, you will only have to renew once every 10 years according to the current regulations. This means that the registration can provide you with protection for a long time without worry. Not needing to renew each year means you don’t have to worry about someone sweeping in and trying to take your trademark.
Benefit #4: You Can Sell Your Trademark
Because you are the owner of the trademark, you can do with it as you please. This means that you could even sell the mark if you want to at some point in the future. A trademark could account for about a third of the overall corporate value of a property. Depending on the type of business you are running, the trademark could be one of the most valuable elements when you are selling. This is because the buyer knows that people associated the trademark and brand with your products and services, and they are banking on that reputation when they take over and use the mark.
Benefit #5: Nationwide on the Day of Registration
When you have a federally registered trademark, it will go into effect nationwide on the date of registration. If you aren’t registered, your rights could be limited to the geographic areas where you use the mark first or the reputation of the mark. This could mean that other companies are using your mark or a similar mark in a different geographic location without you being able to do anything about it. Naturally, this would muddy the waters of your brand and can cause confusion.
Benefit #6: Use the ® Symbol
When you have registered your trademark, you are allowed to use the ® symbol for the products and services that are listed in the registration. If the mark is unregistered, you will have to use TM instead. Having the ® symbol provides status that TM doesn’t have when it comes to marketing. It also lets others that might want to copy your trademark know that your mark is registered and that you will protect your rights.
Benefit #7: Expanding Your Reach
Registration in the United States is used as a basis for you to obtain registration in foreign countries. If you hope to expand your business beyond just the United States, then you will want to have a registered trademark.
Benefit #8: Infringing Foreign Goods
One of the other benefits is that you can file your registration with the U.S. Customs Service. This will help to prevent the importation of goods from other countries that would infringe on your trademark. Having competitive products that use similar marks to yours that come from other countries and that may be cheaper could have a serious effect on your business.
These are some of the main reasons that a business will want to register its trademark. Even when you have a relatively small company or are an entrepreneur with just a handful of employees, or just yourself as the employee, consider registering your trademark.
It is an affordable way to get more protection for your mark and your brand. Intellectual property disputes and outright theft happens more often than you might think. You don’t want to worry about other companies trying to benefit from the work you’ve done to build the reputation of your products and services. Trademarking will provide the protection that you need.
Have a Professional Company Help with the Registration
Although the process of getting a trademark may appear simple, there is a substantial amount of work that needs to be done. The pros can help to make sure that you have federal registration in the United States, as well as international registration if it is required. Handling all of the work of registering and ensuring the process has been done properly is difficult and time-consuming. Typically, it can take between 10 and 12 months for the registration to be complete. However, it could take even longer if you do not fill out the application properly and do your due diligence. A company that specializes in trademarks will handle all of the hard work for you.
September 13 · 3 min read