5 Reasons You Need to Register Your Trademark
Your business has started growing and you’ve been hearing the buzz about trademarks all over entertainment blogs. You also know people who have had their trademarks stolen and it’s something that lingers in the back of your mind. Some days you think “That’s never going to happen to me”, and then you go in your Facebook Group and see that it happened to one of your cohorts. In this post, we are discussing why it is so important for your business to register for a trademark for your business name. Then, you don’t have to be one of the business owners that don’t have a clue when it happens to you.
1. Registering a trademark gives you ownership rights
This is THE #1 reason to register your trademark. Having ownership rights means that you actually own the name (in the case of word marks) in association with the product or service that you sell. Being the owner of a trademark allows you to enforce your trademark against any infringers (see more about this below). You also know that your business name is officially yours and that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trademark. Building a brand on a name that belongs to someone is costly. It can result in shutting down your business, excess attorney fees to defend a lawsuit, and damages because the other party will take action if you get caught.
2. Use of the (R) symbol
The registered symbol informs everyone that your trademark is registered and that you are ready to defend it against infringers. You are only allowed to use the registered symbol after the Trademark Office approves your trademark. If you use the registered symbol before approval then your application is in danger of denial because it is illegal to use that mark if your trademark is not registered.
3. When you register your trademark, you have the ability to sue infringers in Federal Court
Once you have registered your trademark, it is your duty and responsibility to defend it. If you are not defending your trademark, you are risking dilution. If your trademark becomes diluted, it does not have the same type of protection as it does when you first registered your trademark. In a nutshell, dilution occurs when someone uses a famous mark in a manner that blurs or tarnishes the mark. The easiest way to ensure that no is infringing on your mark is to monitor your trademarks (link).
When you decide to sue your infringers, the Federal Court presumes that you own the trademark, if registered. This means that you have less to prove in court. If you win your case, then you can be awarded the following:
- Court order (injunction) that the defendant stop using the accused mark;
- An order requiring the destruction or forfeiture of infringing articles;
- Monetary relief, including defendant’s profits, any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and the costs of the action; and
- An order that the defendant, in certain cases, pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.
4. Valuable asset
Trademarks are one of the most valuable assets of your business. As you continue to grow, your trademark gains value. Once your brand is earning more and more recognition, other companies are going to notice you. You can license your trademark to another company to use for collaborations. Another way that you can use your trademark is to sell it. There are plenty of companies looking to acquire names that they love, but you have it. In the end, either of these strategies means money for your company.
5. Use it for foreign trademark filing
Remember that filing your trademark in the USA only gives you exclusive rights in the 50 states of the USA. But you can file your trademark in other countries which many companies do for strategic reasons before they even file in the US, but that’s another story.
If you have your US trademark registration, you can use your US trademark registration as a basis for filing in another country. The Madrid Protocol allows you to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol. You can file a single application, called an “international application,” with the International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization (WIPO), through the USPTO.
There you have it, the 5 reasons that you need to register your trademark. If you have a name that you want to trademark, but aren’t sure that it’s up to par, then snag the trademark freebie below. It’s a guide that helps you pick a name that’s not only memorable to your audience, but satisfies the Trademark Office.