Federal trademark registration affords legal protections to businesses or creators for any of their identifying marks and other branding endeavors. Trademarks can be unique logos, business names, slogans or commercial jingles, and similar brand-identifying creations that make it easy for a consumer to distinguish a brand.
Trademarks are integral to branding. They help create a personality for a business and establish its authenticity and integrity, which allows it to stand out from competitors. Federal trademark registration protects these branding elements from infringement and unauthorized use. However, businesses can benefit in several additional ways when they register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO).
Benefit 1: Trademark Ownership
Owning a trademark provides you with certain exclusivity rights and protections. Your business brand, logo, and any associated branding elements like a commercial jingle or catchphrase can be worth a significant amount of money, and an identifiable trademark carries an intrinsic value.
Companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s protect their brand image by trademarking the red-and-white swirl logo or the Golden Arches. These images immediately communicate to consumers what kind of experience they’ll obtain from the product.
A competing business with a similar logo could benefit from the positive associations that Coca-Cola or McDonald’s have built with their brand. In turn, more consumers might begin selecting the knock-off brand and causing the original trademark owner to lose market share. As a result, a trademark can be extremely valuable for many businesses.
Benefit 2: Online Sales
These days, it’s rare for businesses to be limited to brick-and-mortar sales, and the sale of goods or services online has become nearly ubiquitous. Often, businesses must have a federally registered trademark before they can begin selling their products online.
Even if the third-party online sales site doesn’t require a trademark — and having a trademark isn’t required to sell goods in the U.S. — a trademark can still distinguish your brand from others. This is important when consumers are only able to use a website to view your products and cannot see or touch them in person to evaluate quality and authenticity.
Benefit 3: National Protection for a Trademark
Trademark registration provides brands and businesses with a legal shield against infringement. When you register a trademark with the USPTO, you are entitled to its use in any state.
You can register a trademark in just your state. However, if your business grows and you decide to expand later, you could run into problems if another business has a similar trademark. National protection prevents other companies from using your trademark, too, even if they aren’t a direct geographic competitor.
Benefit 4: International Considerations and Implications
A federally registered trademark only provides legal protection in locations governed by U.S. law. However, your brand is protected from infringement by products imported into America.
U.S. customs screens imports at physical points for Federal TM infringement. If you have a federally registered trademark, it could prevent inferior goods from abroad from being associated with or mistaken for your own.
Keep in mind, this protection won’t extend to goods in other countries with a trademark or brand identifier similar to yours. With a U.S.-registered trademark, you can more easily apply for an international trademark should you decide to expand globally. A trademark attorney can help you decide if an international trademark is advantageous for your business.
Benefit 5: Advantage in Legal Matters
Registering a trademark gives you a legal presumption of ownership, which is necessary should another party infringe on its use. Your federal trademark protection is your grounds to file suit against any party that uses your branding elements or trademarked intellectual property.
Your registered trademark acts as your supporting evidence. The USPTO protection may even entitle you to triple the actual damages or financial losses your business suffered due to the other party’s infringement.
How Can a Trademark Lawyer Help My Business?
Your Texas trademarks attorney works tirelessly to research your proposed branding elements — from the business name to logos and beyond — to help you mitigate the risk of your brand infringing on another copyright or trademark. They can offer you crucial advice during the business formation stage to ensure that you’re ready when it comes time to submit a trademark application.
Contact Quadros, Migi & Crosby today to learn more about our trademark protection services.