A business that is getting successful might face the risk of other businesses selling products in its name or logo or selling products identical to the unique design of that business. Therefore it becomes really prudent for a business to protect the rights of its product by having it trademarked. Every year, many new businesses and existing businesses in the US make their trademark application to protect their business rights. In this article, we will talk about trademarks.
What is a trademark?
Any design, phrase, symbol or word, or combination of these things that differentiate your goods or services can be called a trademark. Your customers recognize your product from the competitor’s product in the marketplace through trademark, which gives you an advantage over other businesses. Trademarks and service marks can both be referred to as “Trademark.” The basic difference is that a trademark is generally used for a product while a service mark is used for services.
If you are a growing business, it becomes important for you to get your trademark registered as it provides various benefits such as:
- If your trademark is registered, then other businesses cannot take advantage of the goodwill of your products, design, logo, etc., and your customers can easily distinguish your products.
- In addition to that, you also get nationwide legal protection which is limited to an unregistered trademark. For example, if you find out that the other businesses are using your identity to gain profits, you can apply for an injunction order to stop them from further gaining profit in your name and also claim the profits that they made in your name.
There are other benefits also, but these two are major and important for every business.
Examples of a Trademark
The trademark “Coca-Cola” distinguishes the drink from the similar drink “Pepsi.” You can certainly tell which drink to buy depending on the taste preference. Although both the drinks look similar, they certainly have different tastes. Imagine if you had to select these drinks without the labeling; how hard would it have been for you to buy your favorite drink.
The trademark “Nike” and the Nike “swoosh,” for example, identify Nike sneakers and distinguish them from those created by other firms (e.g., Reebok or Adidas). It is also an asset for the company as people can identify real Nike shows based on the logo design.
Consumers can immediately identify the source of a product thanks to trademarks. Consumers might search for the Coca-Cola trademark instead of reading the small print on a cola. Consumers can look for specific identifying symbols, such as a swoosh or a unique stripes pattern, instead of asking a store worker who created a certain athletic shoe. Trademarks encourage firms to invest in the quality of their products by making them easier to identify. After all, if a customer tries a can of Coca-Cola and finds it to be of poor quality, it will be easy for the customer to avoid Coca-Cola in the future and instead purchase another brand. How trademarks should be used is controlled by trademark law.
What is the difference between owning a trademark vs. having a registered trademark?
Another interesting question we get is the difference between owning a trademark vs. having a registered trademark. As soon as a business starts using a trademark in association with the products they are selling or the services they are providing, they become owners of the trademark.
However, the rights on their products are limited, which can be extended by registering the trademark. The limitations can be on geographic grounds where the trademark will be applicable. You’ll need to apply to register your trademark with us if you want stronger, nationwide protection. It is not necessary to register your trademark; however, a trademark that has been registered has more rights and protections than a trademark that has not been registered.
Trademark registration becomes vital when your business grows and starts having a presence in a wider market. You decide to apply for federal registration for your business.
Why should I register a trademark?
If you are getting protection without registering your trademark, why should you register a trademark? Well, you should register your trademark as it provides many privileges to you and is always an advantage in your favor. Following are some of the advantages of registering a trademark.
1. Trademark registration makes your trademark known to the public.
A federal trademark registration informs people that your brand exists and is protected throughout the United States. Your trademark will appear on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website once it is registered. This database is open to the public and allows users to search for prospective trademarks similar to their own. You can also begin using the registered trademark symbol “®” adjacent to your mark once it has been registered.
2. Registration ensures that your trademark is protected throughout the United States.
By registering a trademark, you ensure that your trademark is protected throughout the United States and that no other business can register the same trademark in their name. For example – if you are running a small business in New York and your business is progressing, however, some other individual (who started business one year after you) uses the same name as your business and sells the same product in a different city. You and he might be unknown to each other, but he has full rights to register the trademark unless you challenge it because USPTO has no records of your business as you do not register your trademark.
3. Registration establishes a presumption of trademark ownership and validity.
A trademark registration certificate is an important document that confers national validity on the holder over non-registered trademark users. However, with a federal registration, you are deemed to own a trademark that can be protected under the law. And in case you want to claim against an infringement of your business rights, it is always easier to prove the existence of your business when you have your trademark registered.
I have registered my trademark. How long will it last?
Your trademark registration can exist indefinitely as long as you continue to use it in commerce and provide USPTO with documentation of that usage. Specifically, you need to file maintenance documents with fees at prescribed, periodic intervals. If you don’t renew your federal trademark registration at these intervals, you’ll lose it and have to start the application procedure all over again.
We hope that this guide cleared your doubts related to trademarks. If you have other questions, please message us, and we will resolve your queries.