When starting a business, it is easy to get distracted by the amount of work that needs attention. However, one important decision that many entrepreneurs end up neglecting is the decision to protect their intellectual property with the help of trademarks. Having intellectual property rights is extremely vital to the long-term success of the business. A trademark can be used to protect words, phrases, color schemes or symbols that are associated with the brand. In this article, we discuss 5 things that will help the entrepreneurs explore it further.
1. Trademarks are different from Patents/Logos
The purpose of trademarks is to protect the customers and not the business; while patents/logos are considered to be a form of protection for the businesses. Having a trademark avoids the possibility of infringement by other entities. This is important for the customers since when they buy a particular product they wish to trust the brand and do not want to carry doubts about the authenticity of the brand. Hence, trademarks are considered to be essential for the survival and growth of your brand.
2. Trademarks are associated with categories of products/services
The use of the trademark is not spread across different categories of products and services which means that while you can have trademark rights for a name in one product category the same name can be used in a different product category. Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets is a classic example of this methodology.
3. Remember to search for a unique name
Before you decide on a name, it is recommended to carry out a professional trademark search that will let you know if there is any other company that is using the same name. In addition to this, it is also not advisable to use generic names as they are not easily protected.
4. Trademark needs to have a role in commerce
In order to be able to have protection for your mark, you need to make sure that your mark is being used in commerce. By using it in commerce your mark becomes an identity for your brand and can thus, be pursued for trademark protection. It is also recommended to protect your logos as well as your slogans in order to prevent any infringement.
5. Register Application with USPTO
While using a TM mark is enough to tell the world about your intent to use the name, it is strongly recommended to register your trademark by filing a federal trademark application with the Government. This will serve as a notice of your intent to use and can be used effectively in the future in case of any infringement. This registration can be used to grow the trademark internationally and can also be seen as a way to avoid any infringement since the registration causes your trademark to be listed on the database of USPTO.
Protecting your rights to intellectual property might seem something that can be delayed till the business expands, however, in reality, the decision to trademark your property should be seen as the first step to achieving a successful business. Hence, it is advisable for all entrepreneurs to carry out proper procedures to ensure the protection of their intellectual property.
Michael Ahmadshahi and his law firm focus on patents, intellectual property, copyright, and trade secrets in Irvine, California. The Michael Ahmadshahi, PhD, Law Offices are also located in Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks. Call us toll free at (800) 747-6081 or direct at (949) 260-4997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you with your IP questions and the strategy for your company.