Basics of a Trademark: What’s a trademark and what are the benefits?
Let me start with the basics of a trademark. I think a lot of people assume that they know what a trademark is. But if you ask and get an answer from a person, they’re wrong. This post is going to give you the basic information of what a trademark is and the benefits of registering.
Basics of a Trademark: What is a trademark?
So I said I would start with the basics of a trademark, right? I want the definition of a trademark to be very clear to you. A trademark is how a consumer identifies your products or services. It can be a name, logo, slogan, smell, packaging, or color. A trademark not only identifies your brand, but it also protects your brand. If one day your business goes viral, and you gain popularity, other businesses may try to use your brand likeness to take your customers. But if you have registered your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there are reprecussions for the business that tries to use your name.
Basics of a Trademark: What are the benefits of registering your trademark?
If you have a federally registered trademark, you are protected by the Federal Lanham Act (17 U.S.C. §§ 1051 et seq.). In order, to federally register your trademark your product or service must be used in commerce. That basically means that you are selling your products/services. The USPTO must approve your trademark, if you want protection under the Federal Lanham Act. If you have not federally registered your trademark, then common law (case law) is the only way to protect your trademark. Common law does not afford you as much protection as the Lanham Act. An advantage of registering your mark are the multiple types of statutory remedies, if someone infringes on your trademark. This includes attorneys fees and costs associated with filing the infringement lawsuit. In addition, you can use the ® symbol, it stops others from registering a trademark that looks like yours, and may serve the basis for an international trademark application. If you do not have a federal trademark, you cannot take advantage of these benefits.
If you have a large following, a unique business, or investors, you should be trademarking. Trademark approval may take up to a year or more, so the earlier you register your trademark, the better. Your business may boom while waiting on your approved trademark. A great advantage to registering your mark, is that you are still provided protection under the Lanham Act, if a business or person infringes on your trademark.