Trademarks are not only important business assets because they legally prevent others from using similar marks. They are also important because they help your customers to distinguish your products or services from others. In turn, that enables you to grow your business’s reputation.
A trademark can be a word, a phrase, a symbol, or even a sound.
So, you could trademark your company’s name, logo, tagline, and packaging to ensure competitors do not steal them or use similar items and to ensure you can take legal action should an individual or company infringe on your trademarks.
However, before you determine which things to protect with trademarks, there are several crucial things you need to think about. Here are four that you need to consider.
1. You Should Run a Trademark Search
One thing you are sure to want to protect with a trademark is your business name.
While you need to spend a lot of time coming up with a name that is suitable for your business and is sure to stand out to your customer base, it is equally as important that you spend time running trademark searches.
If you have your heart set on a certain business name and then find out the name is already in existence and protected by trademark law, you will be disappointed and have to start again with coming up with a business name.
So, perform trademark searches in hand with your name ideas. The same applies to taglines and other things you are considering trademarking.
2. You Need to Know Which Trademark Class to Use
To register a trademark in the U.S., you need to file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Part of the process involves registering the class of products or services that your trademark will apply to.
There are forty-five classes, so you need to spend time looking through them before you apply to ensure you choose the right one for your needs.
Your trademark will only be valid for the class of goods or services you select. Make sure you pay attention to the importance of classifying. If you make an error, you will not be able to change it later.
3. You Should Consult a Lawyer
Choosing the correct class can be confusing. For instance, if you manufacture T-shirts and provide a printing service, you may not know whether you should trademark the T-shirts, the printing service, or both.
In such cases, it is a good idea to consult with a trademark lawyer.
An attorney with specialist knowledge in intellectual property can help you with all trademark and patent issues. He or she will be able to streamline the process and help you avoid costly mistakes too.
So, it is worth consulting with an experienced trademark lawyer to ensure everything has been thought about and the registration process goes smoothly.
4. It Is Best to Always Use the Trademark Symbol
You are not legally obliged to use the trademark symbol next to your business name, logo, or other protected item in every jurisdiction, but it makes sense to use it anyway.
It ensures your items are protected in every jurisdiction. It also allows customers to have confidence in your brand.
Customers associate official symbols like the trademark symbol with trustworthy brands. So, using it can help you to create customer retention and expand your business.
Trademarks can be valuable tools to protect your business.
But to maximize trademark protection, you should perform research and run checks to ensure you come up with a unique business name that is not already protected. The same applies to your logo, tagline, and anything else you intend to trademark.
Make sure you register your trademarks under the right classes.
Once your trademarks are in place, you should regularly monitor any potential infringements.