A trademark plays a very important role in any type of business. It helps to protect your intellectual property so that other brands are unable to use it for their own benefit. If you are like many small business owners, you may not be fully aware of the benefits you can receive from a trademark and why it should be protected. Therefore, it’s important that you learn the facts about trademark law so that your business will always be protected.
5 Facts About Trademarks All Business Owners in Washington D.C. Should Know
A business trademark is a phrase, word, or symbol that is used by a company so that the public can easily recognize it. Your logo, tagline or the unique packaging you use for your products is part of this. These trademarks are essential because they offer you a legal way to prevent other companies from using the same or similar logos, phrases, or designs.
While you may already be aware of that fact, here are a few things about business trademarks that you may not know about.
Forming a Business vs. Registering a Trademark – What’s the Difference?
Some business owners believe that when they form a business entity, that is the same as registering their company name or logo as a trademark. But that isn’t always the case. Forming a business does not provide you with the same legal rights as registering a federal trademark. For instance, your company name will not be protected beyond state lines if you do not register a trademark.
Some Business Names or Logos Have More Protection Than Others
There are some business names that can’t receive a trademark because they are too generic. At the same time, there are other brands that have strong protections in this area because their name can be used to refer to an unrelated product. This is the case for brands such as Apple or Shell.
Search for Trademarks Before Finalizing on a Company Name
Many new business owners make the mistake of coming up with the perfect name for their brand and start printing out business cards or creating signs, only to find out there’s another company out there with the same name. To avoid the unwanted cost of rebranding, be sure to conduct plenty of research before you make a final decision on your name.
Know Which Class Your Products or Services Fall Under
To register, you must file with the USPTO. To apply you will need to determine the class of your products or services. The USPTO has goods and services organized into 45 classes. And you need to know which class your business falls under. That’s because your trademark is only valid for the class that you specify. If you choose the wrong class, you will not be able to amend your trademark registration.
It is Your Responsibility to Enforce Your Trademark
While the USPTO will register your trademark, the monitoring and enforcing of them are up to you. You could end up losing your trademark if it is not properly maintained. Be sure to always use the registered trademark symbol to let others know that it is your own. And act promptly if you see that another business is using the same or similar name or logo.
To learn more about the current trademark laws in Washington D.C. or to find out how to register your company’s trademark, get in touch with the legal experts at Locate Legal Help today. Our team is here to help your company grow and remain successful.