A common law trademark for your business name, logo, or symbol is key to ensuring that no one can infringe on your business name or idea. Your company’s brand name is what most of your clients know you by and how they recommend you to others.
If you already have a client base that follows your business and your business name is riding on a trademark, the last thing you need is for someone else to come in and take your idea. If they do, you lose your copyright rights.
If you want to learn more about trademarking your business name or logo and why it is important to do that as soon as possible, continue reading below. We will cover how to trademark your business and who you can reach out to for more guidance.
What Is a Common Law Trademark?
A common law trademark provides protection for your logo, symbol, product name, or other words that directly identify with your services or goods. Trademark protection can protect your business name before registering it with the federal or state government.
A trademark can even protect certain color combinations that resemble a specific brand. For example, the red-orange color associated with Reese’s peanut butter packaging is trademarked. When you think about Apple products, you most likely think of the bitten apple – which is also trademarked.
Why Is Trademark Protection Important?
Trademarking your business name, logo, or color protects your brand identity. This not only protects your intellectual property from being copied by competitors, but it also protects your reputation. In the event that a company does copy you and it directly affects your business, your trademark protection will help you with legal recourses.
Common Trade Mark Registration Mistakes
Before submitting for trade mark registration, you must complete a full search. Even after registration, it is ideal to run another search to ensure that no other business tries to infringe upon your trademark rights.
Although there are some mistakes you can correct after you file; others may require your business to start the whole process over. Some of those mistakes include using a poor choice of a name.
Poor Choice of Brand Name
Choosing a creative name that is distinctive and speaks to your target audience can pose a challenge. If you attempt to register a generic trademark, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will most likely deny your request.
If your name is too descriptive, they may also deny your request. To guarantee that you have the right balance for your trademark name, you can reach out to certain professionals, such as ACG Advocacy, for more information.
Inadequate Trademark Name Search
As mentioned earlier, it would be best to complete a thorough search before sending in your application. You can search on the Trademark Electronic Search System to ensure no similar trademarks are in use.
Failure to Re-register
Registering your trademark is not a one-time thing. You must register your trademark once every ten years in order to keep it active. If you fail to register your business, the Trademark Office will cancel your trademark.
Incorrect Use of the TM Symbol
Most people assume that adding the “TM” at the end of their symbol or business name will offer them trademark protection, but that is not true. The use of the “TM” only provides you with limited protection. It may safeguard geographic boundaries within which your company operates, but that’s about it.
If another company registers your trademark name before you do, they then obtain full legal rights to that name, logo, or symbol. It is crucial that you register as soon as you can so that you can grow your business.
Do You Need an Attorney to Register a Trademark?
In general, you don’t need an attorney for trademark registration, but it does help to at least reach out to one for a consultation. Most business attorneys offer their clients free, no-obligation consultations.
Failing to understand and follow the correct procedures associated with registering your trademark can result in a slew of issues, including denial of registration.
How an attorney can help your business:
- Handles communication regarding your trademark rights and registration
- Provides extensive legal advice throughout the application process
- Ensures that your business correctly prepares and files its application
- Completes regular searches of trademark rights
If you plan on taking your business international, you will benefit from the advice of an attorney. Several business lawyers specialize in handling international affairs. The laws overseas vary wildly from the United States, so the last thing you need is for your business to face any issues when going global.
How Long Does It Take to Register a Trademark?
There are several different external and internal factors that affect how long it takes to register your trademark. On average, it can take between twelve to eighteen months for your trademark to register.
This is because there are several different stages your application must go through before it can receive its registration status. To ensure that you don’t delay your trademark registration, you may want to reach out to an attorney for assistance.
Register Your Trademark With Ease
Registering your common law trademark for your business shouldn’t be a complex process. You should avoid several common mistakes to ensure you register your trademark on time.
Although you don’t need an attorney to help with trademark registration, it helps to have one to ensure there are no unnecessary delays. If you’ve already acquired your trademark, and need help protecting your intellectual property, contact us today.