What is a trademark?

basics of a trademark

Have you wondered if you should trademark your copyright? Wait, huh?

You are right to be confused because trademarks and copyrights are two completely different concepts. Today we will discuss what a trademark is and why you need one in your business like yesterday. A lot of people are misinformed about the topic, but today I am going to make sure you know what it is.

What is a trademark?

So I said I would start with what is it, right?  A trademark is how a consumer identifies your products or services. It can be a:

  1. Name
  2. Logo
  3. Slogan
  4. Smell
  5. Packaging
  6. Color

Trademarks not only identify your brand, but also protect 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 repercussions for the business that tries to use your name.

What are the benefits of registering?

The Federal Lanham Act (17 U.S.C. §§ 1051 et seq.) protects a federally registered trademark. In order, to register, your product or service must be used in commerce. That basically means that you are selling your products/services. The USPTO must approve your mark, if you want protection under the Federal Lanham Act. If you do not have a federally registered trademark, then common law (case law) is the only way to protect it. Common law does not afford you as much protection as the Lanham Act. Are you wondering what is the point of registering your mark?

  1. Multiple types of statutory remedies, if someone infringes on your mark. This includes attorneys fees and costs associated with filing the infringement lawsuit.
  2. Use of 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 have a large following, a unique business, or investors, you should need to trademark your business name, logo, or anything else that sets your brand apart. Approval may take up to a year or more, so the earlier you register, the better. A year is a long time, and at that point you are turning a profit and business is probably booming.

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