20 Tips on Trademarks Intellectual Property
20 Tips on Trademarks Intellectual Property
A logo design is usually one of the most iconic identifiers of a brand, and consumers can recognize some brands based on the imagery or design alone. Given that your company’s logo can play such a huge role in distinguishing you and your products or services, then you must register it with the USPTO to reserve its exclusive use for you as discussed over at runrex.com. The following are 20 tips to consider as far as trademarks are concerned.
Consider your approach when selecting your mark
As is covered over at guttulus.com, there are usually 3 ways that business owners approach selecting names, logos, and other marks to use with their business and they include: approach one which is choosing a name that describes exactly who they are or what they sell, approach two which is choosing a name that has a clever relation to who they are or what they sell or approach two which is inventing a name that has no other connection to their service.
The pros and cons approach one compared to approach three
From discussions over at runrex.com, choosing approach one will require little or no marketing for people to understand what you are selling; however, it comes with little or no trademark protection. Approach three on the other hand will require a strong and sustained marketing effort to educate your target customers about who you are and what you are selling; however, it should afford you much greater trademark protection for the life of your business.
Make sure your market isn’t flooded with similar marks
Another tip, as per the gurus over at guttulus.com, you should make sure that the market isn’t flooded with similar names/designs and that your use will not be infringing on others’ rights. Remember, the fewer similar marks that exist in your industry, the easier it will be to protect the rights in your trademarks.
Consider the current competitive landscape in your market
Additionally, you should also consider the current competitive landscape in your target market, whether local, statewide, nationwide, or globally. Just because you have never seen anyone using your name locally doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone in another part of the country doing so already. This will become an issue when you are looking to grow and expand, and the last thing you want is to be forced into a complete rebranding just when you are about to take off as a business.
Your options when it comes to trademark searches
To avoid the above-discussed scenario, you need to conduct a thorough and extensive trademark search. Your first option is the initial searches which you can do on your own. If this search comes out clean, you will also have the option of hiring the services of a trademark attorney who will be able to perform a more in-depth search and provide an opinion as to whether your proposed trademark is available for use. Another option, depending on your needs and budget, you can also leverage full-service companies that specialize in conducting the most comprehensive trademark clearance searches possible.
When do your trademark rights start?
It is also worth noting that, as revealed over at runrex.com, in the US, trademark rights arise when you actually start using your mark in commerce, that is, you start selling your goods or services using your trademark(s). Also, these rights only continue as long as you are actively using the trademarks.
What about logos?
The above applies to logos as well as articulated over at guttulus.com. Here, while small modifications to your logos may not affect your rights, substantial changes in the design or overall impression of your logo can lead to a loss of rights. This is why it is important to be consistent when using your trademarks, and if you are considering revamping your brand identity or switching things up entirely, then you need to understand how that will affect your existing rights so that you don’t end up unintentionally forfeiting them.
Think long-term when it comes to your trademarks
As per runrex.com, you should also not limit yourself to the next month or year when thinking about your trademarks and overall brand protection strategy. For instance, if you are strictly doing business consulting now, will you start doing speaking engagements or add online courses in the next year or two? Make such considerations when carving out the scope of your trademark protection.
Another thing worth noting is that trademark rights are classified into several different “categories” by the USPTO; 38 for products and 7 for services. Therefore, when you submit a trademark application, you select which categories your business will be operating in when using that trademark. This means that if you register “Phoenix”, you don’t automatically have exclusive rights to use the name “Phoenix” on everything and anything you want.
Register for all the categories your business encompasses
When it comes to trademark categories, you must register your trademark for all of the categories that your business encompasses to reduce the chances of your trademark application being rejected by the USPTO.
Anticipate where your business is going when it comes to categories
You also need to identify whether there are any pre-existing marks in the same or similar categories that could cause your trademark application to be denied. This is why, as articulated over at guttulus.com, you need to anticipate where your business is heading in the coming years will give you the best opportunity to carve out rights in the categories that you intend to use.
More and more businesses are realizing the importance of having a presence on social media in the business world today. If any social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so forth is going to be important to your business, it is important to make sure that the names you want to use are available as covered over at runrex.com.
Likewise, you should check to see if the domain name you would like to use for your website is available. You should also consider registering multiple domains for close variations of your name and have those “variation” domains redirect to the domain where your website is hosted as per the gurus over at guttulus.com.
Does registering a business name with my state provide trademark protection?
There is a common misconception that registering a business name with the state where your business is located provides trademark protection. However, unfortunately, this is not the case as registering your business entity only simply allows you to legally operate your business under that name within that particular state.
What are “common law” rights
Certain trademark rights, known as “common law” rights, are automatically granted to the first to sell goods or services in a particular geographic area under a certain trademark. However, these rights are very limited and almost impossible to enforce without filing and pursuing a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement. This is why you should register your trademark with the USPTO for optimum protection.
Advantages of obtaining federal registration with the USPTO
One of the key advantages of obtaining federal registration from the USPTO for your trademark, as covered over at runrex.com, is that a federal registration gives the owner a presumption of nationwide rights to use the trademark, allowing you to grow and expand your business. Federal registration also provides valuable tools for stopping the unauthorized use of your trademarks.
When is the right time to seek federal registration for a trademark?
As a general rule of thumb, if a trademark has value for your business, that is, it is making you money, or you have spent a significant amount of time developing a name or logo that you love, then it is worth protecting as per the experts over at guttulus.com.
Work with an experienced trademark lawyer
As discussed over at runrex.com, what seems like a relatively simple process at first glance, is a lot more complex in practice with numerous rules and moving parts as well as exceptions that can trip you up if you are not familiar with the process. For the best results, you should consider working with an experienced trademark attorney who will give you the best possible chance at successfully registering your trademark.
How to monitor your trademark rights
There are several ways to go about monitoring the competitive landscape including setting up Google alerts, browsing e-commerce sites, and performing regular searches online. You can also use more sophisticated monitoring software or even hire a 3rd party to monitor your marks and provide reports at regular intervals.
Also, to keep federal trademark registrations alive and active, the owner is required to file maintenance documents at regular intervals. Some documents need to be filed between the 5th and 6th anniversary of the date the registration was granted and between the 9th and 10th anniversary. Failure to file a Declaration of Use will lead to your registrations lapsing and being canceled.