Trademarks help set a brand apart from its competition and protect a distinctive name, slogan or image. When you use a trademark, you secure your company or product and provide a right to action when theft or infringement occur. To establish value for your innovation, you need to protect its name and reputation.
What are trademarks?
A simple definition of a trademark is a word, phrase, design or symbol that identifies a company’s goods, and distinguishes them from others that might be mistaken for the same brand or product. The trademark’s advantage is that it protects you for as long as you require. Although the U.S. and many other countries allow common law use to establish trademarks, formal registration provides the highest level of protection. Regardless of what type of company you own or product you develop, making sure your innovations are safe from others will help you build value.
Why do trademarks matter?
Trademarks help your brand stand out from competitors. If your brand sets itself apart, prospective customers and the general public will trust your company or product. Your trademark will defend against anyone else attempting to use your name, especially in a way that could harm your business reputation. Trademarks shield you and your company against frauds who claim you are using their name, which happens more often than many company owners realize. Taking steps to register your trademarks will help you establish your brand.
How do you get a trademark?
Choosing a brand name that will help your company gain recognition will be a vital part of its success. However, when undertaking this important step, it is most helpful if you have the guidance of experts. Many company owners choose to use a lawyer for this process, to help ensure that everything is done efficiently. The application process for getting a trademark involves both making sure that the mark is not in use, then submitting the application for your mark to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the relevant agency in your country. The registration will also need to be maintained regularly. Once there is a trademark associated with your brand or company, you will have protection.
What protection and other benefits do trademarks provide?
In addition to legal protection, trademarks also build greater brand recognition. Some of the most popular brands known throughout the world have the recognition that they do because of the distinction that a trademarked name gives them. Having a trademark that customers know well often sets these companies up as leaders in the industry, leading to greater success.
Note: This page is intended to provide legal information. It is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you have specific questions about a legal matter, please contact your attorney.