Registered Trademark: What Every Business Should Know Before Proceeding
In business, branding is essential for the success of your product or service4 min read
In business, branding is essential for the success of your product or service. To protect your hard work, it is crucial to consider trademark registration. Registering your trademark provides a level of legal protection against infringement by others, and the benefits it provides can be significant. Whether you are a business owner in New York or a lawyer helping your clients protect their intellectual property, you will need to understand the basics of trademark registration.
A trademark is a sign used to identify and distinguish goods or services from other sources and serves as an indicator of a company's brand. As a business owner, you can recognize a brand by its logo, symbol, phrase, design, or other visual representation. Here, we will look at the different types of trademarks, the process of registering a trademark, the benefits of registering a trademark, and some considerations one should make when they are deciding whether or not to trademark a mark.
Types of Trademarks
When a mark is used to identify and distinguish goods and services in commerce, there are several trademark categories:
Service marks: A service mark is used to identify and distinguish services from other sources. Service marks for the service portion of businesses are just like trademark marks for the goods portion.
Collective marks: Collective marks are used to identify members of a particular organization such as a professional organization, union, or union organization.
Certification marks: A certification mark is used to certify that goods or services have certain characteristics or that they meet certain standards.
Process of Registering a Trademark
Registering a trademark can be done online or with the help of an attorney. It is important to understand the cost and time associated with the registration and to determine if a mark can be registered.
Before you file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you must choose a trademark that is unique and can be distinguished from existing trademarks or previous applications. You can do a trademark search under the USPTO database to check for existing marks.
Once you have determined that you are registering a trademark that is not already taken, you can file an application for the mark. The application needs to contain complete and accurate information about the mark and the owner of the mark. The application must include the classes of goods or services that the mark will be used for, specimens that demonstrate the mark’s use, and if applicable, a statement of the mark’s use in commerce.
When filing the trademark application, there is a fee associated with each class of products or services that the mark is to be used. This fee is generally payable to the USPTO. It is important to remember that after the application is filed, it can take up to six months before the USPTO reviews and approves the application.
Benefits of Registering a Trademark
Registering a trademark provides a variety of benefits to businesses. Once registered, the trademark is protected from infringement by others. Additionally, if someone infringes upon the mark, the business owner may have legal recourse that is not available without any registration. As mentioned previously, registering a trademark also gives the business owner the exclusive right to use the mark in commerce. This exclusive right may be of significant value and can be leveraged to promote the business.
When a business has a registered trademark, it is easier for that business to protect their brand on the internet. It is important to note that registering a trademark does not protect a brand from online infringement, but it can help the business stay ahead of the game.
Lastly, if a business wants to expand their business by franchising or licensing, it is easier to do so with a registered trademark than a common law mark.
Lastly, due to the recent passage of the America Invents Act, registered trademarks have become even more valuable and may be a critical asset for businesses.
Considerations Before Registering a Trademark
Before proceeding with the trademark registration process, there are certain considerations businesses should make. One of the primary considerations is if the mark is eligible for registration. To determine eligibility, businesses can perform a trademark search. It is important to note that not all marks are eligible for registration.
Additionally, businesses should consider the extent of protection needed for the mark and the cost of registering the mark. This has to do with the number of classes of goods or services that will be associated with the mark and the jurisdiction in which the business is seeking registration.
Lastly, businesses should consider if they are able to use the trademark in commerce. If a business is unable to use the mark in commerce prior to the registration, the application may be denied.
The core message
If you are a business owner in New York or a lawyer helping your clients protect their intellectual property, it's important to understand the basics of trademark registration. Registering a trademark provides a level of legal protection and exclusive rights in commerce and allows businesses to expand in a more efficient way. However, there are certain considerations businesses should make before proceeding with the trademark registration process. By understanding the different types of trademarks, the trademark application process, and the benefits and considerations associated with registering a trademark, businesses can ensure they are taking the necessary steps to protect their brand.