Do I Really Need To Register My Company's Trademark?
The short, deceptively simple, and honest answer is no. Trademark rights arise from use, not registration. HOWEVER, registering a trademark has many very important benefits that do not accrue to those who fail to do so, and not having these benefits COULD NEGATIVELY AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS, the value you obtain from your trademark and the remedies you have available if someone infringes on your Mark.
A trademark is a symbol a company’s goodwill and recognition. It connects a consumer to a brand. It represents a product or brand’s reputation, quality, or association, and it can be highly valuable. However, if not properly protected, the value and reputation of that Mark can be reduced drastically and other’s may even be able to ride the coattails of your hard work and your brand’s recognition, impacting your business profit.
How can this happen? Without registration, the trademark, in whatever form, may only be protectable in a very limited, geographic area of its’ use. This may preclude use of your trademark outside of that specific area and could even subject you to a suit for infringement by someone else using a similar or substantially similar registered or unregistered mark, in the outside area you plan to operate.
Why should you care? While you may be starting small, the usual object of a business is to profit and grow. One of the most obvious consequences of that goal is for a business to expand its’ geographic footprint. Without greater protections at the start, you may be limited on where that growth can occur. In addition, if another business has registered a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), that mark will be protected nationwide and can be used anywhere, regardless of your past use of a similar mark.
What can you do? At a minimum, it is advisable to do an internet search before adopting any mark. Search for other business names that are similar or substantially like your proposed mark. Note what line of business the mark is being used. If it is a similar line of business, this may be another area of concern. Check domain names. Look in your state’s registry of business names to see if anyone is using a similar mark. Check the proposed mark against the USPTO database of registered names. However, the smart choice would be to use a service designed to perform a comprehensive name search and have an attorney review the search results before making any decisions. An attorney versed in Trademark law will be able to interpret the results of that search, provide an opinion as to the usability of the mark and even go through the process of getting your mark registered nationwide with the USPTO.
If you would like any more information, please contact us at INTELLEQUITY® Legal Services, LLC, or Click here to find out more about why you should hire an attorney for the trademark process. We can help with all those processes and ensure that the mark you choose will not only receive protection now but will stay protected for the life of your business. Call us today at 503-877-0881 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.