As the operator of a Los Angeles-based business, you may have heard of “registered marks.” But you may not be sure exactly what they mean for your business. To ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your business and protecting its intellectual property, it’s important to fully understand the legalities behind registered marks, their implementation, and the repercussions of not having one. The following guide will help you gain the knowledge you need to explore the basics of a registered mark and decide if it’s right for you.

At its most basic level, a registered mark is a symbol – like a logo or phrase – that exclusively belongs to a company. Such marks may also refer to naming and branding rights, such as factories or products. Registered marks are defined by the laws of the United States and are administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They allow business owners to build up recognition and reputation for their products, services, and trademarks.

The goal of a registered mark is to protect those business and its products from any unauthorized use or exposure from other businesses in the same market or even the same region. In other words, it serves as a legal defense for the business and its products when a similar or identical mark, phrase, logo, name, identity, etc., appears in the marketplace or online.

When you register a mark, you’re both protecting it from being used by other businesses as well as affirming to the public that the mark is valid and legitimate. When the USPTO assigns a trademark, service mark, and/or title, this also creates an exclusive right for the registrant to use that mark.

Moreover, a registered mark is not limited to domestic use. It not only applies in the United States, but could be used abroad as well. Therefore, it can be seen as a way to travel abroad and expand your business’s production or services around the world.

There are two types of registered marks, each of which comes with its own classification of the goods and services: use-based and intent-to-use. With a use-based mark, a company has already begun using the mark in commerce. However, if a business has not yet started using the mark, an intent-to-use can be registered with the USPTO. This allows the business to reserve the mark for later use once some good or service has been offered under it.

Getting a registered trademark, be it for use-based or intent- to-use, is a complicated process. To avoid wasting time and money, it’s important to seek the assistance of a business lawyer who can advise and guide you through the process and the paperwork.

A business lawyer is knowledgeable in the rules and regulations of the mark application process. They can help review logos, names, slogans, and other intellectual property rights and provide direction and answers to potential trademark infringement inquiries. They may also be knowledgeable about the best uses of a trademark or the applicable laws of other countries, which may be necessary if you’re expanding globally.

Overall, registered marks are often a necessary part of doing business, as they protect you and your business from being copied or tampered with. These marks are legally binding and can be a valuable asset to your business, so it’s smart to take the proper time and consult with a business lawyer to determine if it's appropriate for you.


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