A trademark is a piece of intellectual property. According to the USPTO: "A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.”
Why are trademarks important?
Trademarks are identifiers. They can be used to legally protect your business identity from fraudulent competitors bent on stealing the fruits of your labor.
A lot of times, people new to the business world, notably small business owners, have only vague ideas about trademarks and brand protection. Consequently, they make a lot of mistakes while dealing with this mystical (to them) concept.
This type of thinking can be disastrous for your business. Trademarks are your intellectual property, and any mistakes in regards to this can lead to major financial loss and even the loss of your brand.
Read on to find out five of the most common misconceptions regarding trademarks and brand protection.
Misconception #1: Trademark = Logo
Many people are under the impression that a trademark can only be the logo of their brand. Depending upon your country, a trademark can be a:
It is important to note that laws regarding what exactly can serve as a trademark are different for different countries, and what is true for one may not be true for another.
This also brings us to our next point.
Misconception #2: Registering in one country = registering in the entire world
Nope. Registering your intellectual property in the US does not mean you do not need to register it anywhere else should you choose to market internationally. There are separate procedures and requirements for brand and trademark registration.
Misconception #3: Registering a trademark means that no one else can now use it (aka trademarks are unique)
Trademarks are registered for a specific product or service. If another company with a completely distinct set of goods or services registers the same trademark, they can absolutely do so. You can also use an already registered trademark as long as your product is sufficiently different from the already registered one.
Misconception #4: Registering company name = registering trademark
Again, nope. Forming a company and registering a domain name is not the same as registering a trademark and will not provide you with brand protection. Only registering the trademark gives you ownership of the mark, as your intellectual property, protected by law.
Misconception #5: You can DIY
No one will stop you. However, wading through the subtle and unfamiliar details of the law will take a lot out of your precious time that can be spent on a hundred other things related to your startup. And it is risky; you might cost yourself the rights to your intellectual property.
These and many other mistakes made by new businesses are why we’re here to assist you in making the right decisions regarding your trademarks and the protection of your brand. Let our experience guide you through the process.
Contact our office today.