What are the benefits of a trademark? This form of intellectual property protection prevents others from using the words and symbols that represent your brand. Your brand is your public image by which you will be known and build a reputation. The goodwill that is created through a brand is one of the most important assets in your business.

Branding and Trademark Registration: Introduction

Brands are how all kinds of businesses create value. The first kind of brand that can be adopted is the business name. This is obtained through the Secretary of State's office and/or a DBA.

A trademark is anything that your brand is related to. Even without formally registering, you have some rights, but by registering you have all of the advantages.

Trademark Benefits

Several advantages to registering the business under a federal trademark include:

  • You own the mark - A federal trademark registration gives you the legal ownership and exclusive rights to use the mark in the country related to the goods or services in the registration. You can take someone to court if they are using your trademark. You can also bar them from using something that is similar to your mark.
  • A trademark registration prevents the federal registration of a mark that is similar to yours since the US Trademark Office has this responsibility.
  • You can take legal action against infringers - If another business uses your trademark, there's not much you can do. Federal trademark holders can sue infringers in court. The process in the federal level is longer than the state, and the disclosure rules can benefit plaintiffs.
  • Your trademark appears in searches - A company has to do a trademark search using the US Patent and Trademark Office database. Anyone can see the names through this database so your name will also appear through this search. Companies cannot claim ignorance of your trademark search.
  • Prevent against imported goods - Many international companies export their goods to the U.S. When you have federal trademark rights these companies cannot use your trademark when selling their goods in the U.S.
  • An easier way to international rights - A trademark allows the owner to have the registrations in foreign countries. It would be easier to obtain trademark protection in foreign countries if you own the U.S. trademark rights.
  • Using ® symbol - Only those who have a trademark registration can use the ®. This is the most important symbol as any company can use the ™ and ℠.
  • Domain control - Trademarking the domain name would go a long way to convince the court in a case under the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy.
  • Geographical coverage - When you register your trademark, this gives you nationwide protection. If you want to expand to other countries, then you will have a good platform to expand.
  • Licensing - A trademark can be licensed and recorded on the register, giving the licensee rights to institute legal proceedings in case of infringement.
  • Assignment - A registered trademark can be transferred, but this is not possible with a common law trademark.
  • Proceedings use - A trademark is the first evidence of registration evidence and the rights covered by it. A person registered as proprietor of the trademark is evidence of the validity of trademark registration unless proven otherwise.
  • There are greater remedies when registering a trademark. The trademark owner has the right to recover triple damages and fees of the lawyer for infringement.
  • Once the registration has existed for at least five years, it can become incontestable.

Steps in Filing a Trademark

Filing a trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is important to protect their business brand.

  • Make sure the trademark you want is not already taken or registered.
  • Give examples of how the mark can be used in business.
  • Protect the mark from any infringements.

Other Options for Registering a Trademark

Local state registration - You can go through the Secretary of State in the state you are filing in. These registrations are for products or services in one state.

Not registering the trademark - In the U.S., the actual use of a trademark even without registration provides certain common law rights.

If you need help with finding out more about trademarks, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.