TRADEMARKS & BRANDING
A trademark helps distinguish your products from your competitor’s products. The trademark conveys importance, quality, and investment to your customers. Your potential customers will choose your products over your competitors. Research shows branded products command a higher profit margin than non-branded products.
In legal terms, a trademark grants you the exclusive rights to use your trademarks in connection with your products. But, to achieve this protection trademark owners have to follow certain rules.
You must use the trademark properly
You must continuously use the trademark
The trademark must be chosen properly; it cannot describe the product and it cannot be a generic meaning for the product.
The trademark should be distinctive and unique.
You have to police/enforce your trademark; if others use it you must stop them.
The failure to follow any of these rules you may lose your rights to the trademark.
You’re entitled to use the SM for an unregistered service mark (for a service), TM for an unregistered trademark and ® for a registered trademark or service mark.
It is quite valuable to register a trademark. Your trademark will have numerous advantages such as nationwide rights to stop competitors from copying your trademark, a legal presumption of validity and ownership of the trademark, the right to use the ®, public notice of your exclusive rights to other parties to stop them from copying your trademark, the right to record the trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods, the right to bring a lawsuit in federal court to enforce your rights, and listing your trademark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases.
When you’re choosing your trademark, be sure to not use a trademark that is already in use. This is the purpose of a trademark search. The first place to search is the United States Trademark Office database at www.uspto.gov. A trademark search is a specialized craft but if you put some effort into it and research how to conduct a search you could get a good idea if a prior trademark conflicting with yours exists. Plus, your good search will help you understand the strength of your mark.
Depending on certain factors, if someone is using your trademark in their domain name, you may have the right to force them to give you the domain rights because you cannot use a trademark in a domain name.
As you can see from the above, you should consider numerous factors in using your trademark. We would be delighted to help counsel you in using your trademarks to help drive profits at your company. In this letter to a client, we detail some of the Benefits to Federally Registering a Trademark.
We can also assist you in Naming a New Company, as it is important not to infringe on previously existing trademarks since damages to your company can result.