When creating a brand, its important to ensure that the images, logo, and other elements are unique and clearly identifiable. One of the worst fears of a company owner is that their company title or logo will be stolen. One of the ways to ensure that your brand is protected is to trademark your logo or company name.
Benefits of Registering a Trademark
First things first; let’s define what a trademark is. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademarks “protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.”
A trademark is not the same thing as a copyright, which protects works of art, such as novels, articles, paintings, or photographs, or a patent, which protects material things like inventions. Trademarks are only valid for products or services that are currently on the market. You can’t register ahead of time to save the name or image – it has to be in active use.
So, what are the benefits of registering your trademark?
Basically, you get proof of ownership of the mark, and you get the right to invoke the federal court system if you feel that someone is infringing on it. You also gain the right to file it with the U.S. Customs service to prevent the importation of conflicting foreign goods.
You also gain the right to use the ® (registered) symbol in conjunction with your logo or company name. You can use the ™ (trademark) symbol at any time, of course – but the former implies proof of ownership.
If you want to trademark something, you first need to make sure that it isn’t already being used. USPTO has a database called TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) which you can use to search company names and logos. To search for images, you’ll need to find the Design Code associated with your logo.
The next step is to register your trademark with the Trademark branch of USPTO. There are different forms depending on your exact type of trademark, so you’ll need to take a look at exactly which one is right for you. The fee ranges from $200 to $400 dollars, and you need to file an Affidavit of Use between the fifth and sixth years after registration. You should keep in mind that even if USPTO doesn’t register your trademark (because of a conflicting trademark held by another company, or for other reasons), they won’t refund the processing fee. And, it’s a good idea to hire a trademark attorney to help you with the registration process.
As you can see, there are advantages to registering a trademark. From a logo to a catchphrase, it’s important to ensure the safety and integrity of your brand. Although it’s not entirely necessary, if you’re concerned about the theft of your image, you should look into registration.
For further information, take a look at the link below. They take you to various parts of USPTO’s website, where you can get an in-depth idea of the trademark process. Have fun!
Trademark Registration Resources
Instructions on Registering a Trademark