Imagine spending countless hours creating, developing, and perfecting your brand. Then, imagine someone else selling the same goods and services using extremely similar marks as yours to sell their goods and services, which just so happen to be the same goods and services you are selling. And then imagine that person sues you for trademark infringement even though you started selling the products under your brand first. The results would likely be devastating and catastrophic. We want to make sure you don’t go through this and so we will first discuss the benefits of registering your mark with the United States Patent Office, and then we will provide some tips when thinking about creating and registering a mark.
The benefits of registering your trademark include the following:
· Notifies everyone that your brand is the source of the goods and services
· Validates the mark
· Creates certain presumptions of ownership
· Grants exclusive right to use mark in connection with goods and services associated with it
· Can sue in federal court for infringement and prevent importation of goods bearing an infringing mark
Now, here are 5 tips to remember when creating and registering a mark:
1. Do an initial search to ensure your mark is not already taken
Not doing so will waste your time and money filing an application and will prevent you from focusing on other things to enhance your brand!
2. When creating your mark, try to be original and create a strong mark
The Trademark Office classifies the strength of a mark based on the following name types from weakest to strongest: generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful/coined. Keep this in mind when thinking of a mark for your brand to avoid problems in the future!
3. Use your marks!
Trademark protection is enforceable only for the duration of time which you are actively and consistently using that mark. If you change your company’s name, then you may no longer be entitled to trademark protection of the initial company name and will have to register your new company mark with the Trademark Office.
4. Keep track of important renewal dates
Trademarks need to be maintained by filing maintenance documents at specific intervals. Without filing them, your trademark protection will no longer be active. Don’t let all your hard work registering your mark go to waste simply because you forgot to mark your calendar for these dates.
5. Once registered, be diligent in keeping up with relevant new trademark applications
You don’t want to be on the other side of the scenario described in the beginning of this blog post. Imagine you’ve been intelligent in registering your mark. Then imagine that shortly thereafter, another brand using a similar mark to sell similar goods and services is applying for a trademark. Hopefully, the Trademark Office denies them registration, but in the case that they do not, you want to keep your eyes open so you can oppose their registration.