A large part of the value of your business lies in your intellectual property. trademark registration for your business should be a priority right from the start as it has short and long-term implications for the success of your brand. Perhaps you don’t fully understand the ramifications of not having the legal protection you need to protect your business. If so, read on to discover why registering your trademark should be on your to-do list.
What is trademark registration?
It is a form of intellectual property (IP). It’s considered an asset and covers things like the unique symbol, word, number, image, and even scent you use to represent your business or its products. Registering a trademark gives you the legal right to the use of these assets. You also have the exclusive right to license it or sell them. This gives you control over who can or can’t use your name or logo, for example.
Three reasons to register your trademark
The benefits of registering your trademark extend beyond protecting your IP. It can also shield you from potential litigation. Let’s look at how registering your trademark will pay off for you:
- You are given the right to use the registered trademark
Without actually going through the legal process of registering your trademark for your brands, names and logos as trademarks, you will not necessarily have the right to use them.
- You protect yourself against infringing on the rights of others
Part of the application and registration process includes investigating currently registered trademarks that may be similar to yours. Being made aware of these possible infringements will allow you to alter your application to keep on the right side of the law, or if needed change the brand to avoid infringement. If you had gone ahead and launched your business or brand and inadvertently used a similar trademark to a competitor, you put your business at risk. Not only would you have to face their legal claim, but you would also have to amend all the assets you have already invested in producing. Starting over will be expensive.
- You protect your trademark and your reputation
With a registered trademark, you have the power to stop someone if they start using a similar name to yours in your industry. They may have launched a similar business hoping to confuse clients into thinking they are aligned with you or are part of the same business. They’re riding on your excellent reputation. With a trademark in place to protect you, it’s can be a simple process to enforce your rights and stop that confusion. It’ll save you time and money from having to prove your case in court based on unregistered rights.
With the registration in place, you cannot sit back and relax. It would be best if you kept your eye on competitors and those operating in your marketplace to ensure there are no infringements. Your trademark is only as good as your willingness to enforce it. So, what do you do if you suspect someone is using your trademark or a similar asset?
trademark law is complex, so the first thing you want to do is get professional advice to determine if it is indeed a case of infringement. A trademark attorney will look at the following factors and advise whether or not you have a case.
Their first challenge will be to assess if the alleged infringement of your trademark is legally valid. Many factors need to be evaluated to determine if a violation can be legally challenged. Different countries have different laws in this regard, and in the USA even states have different trademark laws. That means that if you are aiming to open a business in San Diego, California it would be great to find a trademark lawyer that operates in that state. A trademark attorney who has the knowledge and experience on trademark laws internationally is important.
Another factor they will look at is who used the trademark first and the scope of that prior use. In Australia, they will look at the timing of use to see whether it was before or after you first used or registered your trademark.
The other area they will explore is the category of goods and services the alleged infringement falls into. This means you are only protected by trademark registration in the relation to the goods or services nominated in these classes, or closely related goods/services – essentially where there’s a risk of consumer confusion.
So we can see that working with a trademark attorney to comply with trademark law has its benefits. You want to know that you are equally protected from infringements and from risks you could run of infringing on others’ rights.