Business Trademarks: Everything You Need to Know
Understanding business trademarks can help you protect your brand and business.3 min read
Understanding business trademarks can help you protect your brand and business. If your business has a word, symbol, phrase, or design that stands out from the competition, it would be classified as a potential trademark. It is what identifies your product or service, and what legally protects it.
Often, during the startup phase of your business, intellectual property is considered one of its most valuable assets. And keep in mind that this is not limited to inventions and patents; your logo, company name, and tagline are also key variables and need to be considered.
Overview of Trademarks
When you invest in a trademark, you will gain peace of mind, knowing that your brand is legally safe. This means that no one else in the market can use your trademark or brand in a similar fashion.
If you're wondering why you would take this step, know that a trademark can reduce any confusion in the marketplace. Customers will understand that the product or service you offer, is unique to your brand. To summarize basic facts regarding business trademarks, here's what you need to know:
- Once you incorporate, submit a DBA, or form an LLC to register your business with the state. But be aware that although you will be protected on a state level, you will not have protection in the other 49 states. This is where federal trademark laws come into play.
- You are not required to register a trademark, but it is recommended, as legal protection. Even without applying, you can use TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) to let others know of your current ownership. Once registered, however, you can use the registered (®) mark. This will help to keep your brand identity safe.
- You should take a proactive approach by filing an intent-to-use trademark application.
- Although business names are often trademarked (when using that name to advertise to consumers), distinct people's names can also be awarded a trademark.
Benefits of Trademark Registration
The benefits associated with business trademark registration are extensive. First and foremost, a trademark will protect your brand and business name. This is imperative for long-term success. When you are investing in advertising, you'll want to ensure that no one else can use your name, logo, or tagline.
To benefit from an approved trademark, here is the process:
- Conduct an extensive search; this will help you identify whether or not that trademark is in use.
- Although the process is fairly straightforward, and an application is generally accepted within six months, attorney assistance is highly recommended.
- Trademarks have a 10-year term and there is no limit to the number of times you can renew.
- It is also important to note that your name and logo, for instance, cannot be included in the same application. This is why many businesses file multiple applications. If you can only afford one trademark, it is best to register your business name. The cost for registering a trademark is between $275 and $325 per application, and it is recommended that you refrain from registering web extensions.
Business Name Registration With the State
It is also important to understand that business trademark laws differ from state to state. Understand what will be required of you based on your geographic location. For example, if you plan on opening a business in New York, another business could use your name in Colorado or Texas.
Your attorney can help you conduct all state and federal research. If you plan on selling nationwide, then you should invest in a business trademark at the federal level. These trademarks are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Processing time can be between six and twelve months, so keep this in mind.
How to File and Register a Trademark in Colorado
Within Colorado, a Statement of Registration of Trademark must be filed electronically.
- Simply go to the Business Home page, then select 'file a business document.'
- Click on 'search business database,' then enter your ID number or record name.
- Continue the process as outlined on the website, but remember to seek advice from your attorney along the way.
- Once accepted, your trademark will be effective for five years before renewal is required.
Understanding this process can help you protect your business and brand for many years to come. Being proactive is essential for long-term protection.
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