The Importance of Trademarking Your Business Name and Logo
In this age of branding and internet marketing, it is a good idea to trademark your name and logo. Trademarking offers many benefits and protections for your business.
To understand why trademarking your name and logo is a good idea, you must understand some trademark basics. First, understand what a trademark does – it protects the symbol, slogan, logo, or image that you use in conjunction with your business from someone else also using that same (or substantially similar) symbol, slogan, logo, or image.
Consider, for example, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” the familiar Starbucks logo, the red-headed pigtail girl from the Wendy’s franchise. All of these are examples of trademark slogans, logos, or images that are both easily identifiable, and protected from other businesses using the same or similar logos and slogans thanks to trademarks.
When Symbols, Slogans, Logos, or Images Qualify for Trademark
Under common law, when you begin using your symbol, slogan, logo, or image on your packaging, product labels, or your product, and your business is associated with that particular phrase, color combination, shapes, or image, you may own the rights to those marks. However, common law does not provide essential protections for your symbol, slogan, logo, or image. Common law trademarks is limited. They are also extremely difficult to protect and enforce.
Benefits of Registering a Trademark
There are a number of benefits associated with registering a trademark. These include:
- The exclusive right to use the symbol, slogan, logo, or image in connection with the goods or services listed in the trademark registration
- A presumption of ownership in the entire United States
- The ability to obtain trademarks (and the accompanying trademark protections) in other countries
- Protection under the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
- The ability to request the assistance of the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency to confiscated goods imported into the US that bear your trademark falsely or bear a substantially similar trademark designed to appear to be your trademark
- The ability to litigate trademark infringement in federal court, rather than state court
Trademark Application Timing
The Patent Office reviews thousands of trademark applications each year. It is a good idea to begin the process of trademarking your symbol, slogan, logo or image as soon as humanly possible. Businesses can submit an “intent to use” application even before they begin using the symbol, slogan, logo, or image.
Do Not Underestimate the Value of Trademarks
Trademarks provide the human brain with quick shortcuts. As your brand grows, and public trust increases based on your good business practices, the value of your symbol, slogan, logo, or image increases. Having a good symbol, slogan, logo, or image also increases the value of your business. With a recognizable trademarked symbol, slogan, logo, or image, you increase your ability to sell your company to a larger corporation.
Trademarks are a business asset. They can be bought and sold. They can also be licensed. Additionally, a well-recognized symbol, slogan, logo or image allows for business expansion, should you desire such a course of action. A trusted logo in the cooking utensils space can transfer easily into the bedding and bath sectors. Just ask Martha Stewart. (A word of caution: don’t expand your brand beyond your trademark application without amending your trademark application. Failure to do so could have disastrous consequences.)
Your Application is Not Secret
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not keep your application secret. Instead, your application is considered a public record. The USPTO maintains a permanent, searchable online database. You should carefully consider things such as the address you use (home or business) when you apply for a trademark. In addition to your symbol, slogan, logo, or image, public information includes:
- Your phone number
- Your name
- Email contact info
- Street address.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Trademark?
The short answer is, “no, you do not ‘need’ a lawyer to get a trademark.” However, you should know that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the Department of Commerce, “strongly encourages” applicants hire an attorney who specializes in trademark law.
An attorney who is experienced in this area can guide applicants through the application process. This is critical because there are a series of legal requirements in order to obtain a trademark. An experienced trademark attorney can save you time and money in the long run.
What Can a Trademark Attorney Do that I Cannot?
Attorneys experienced in trademark law can conduct a comprehensive search of all trademark registrations, to make certain the symbol, slogan, logo, or image is available for trademark.
This is critical because if your proposed symbol, slogan, logo, or image is already protected by a trademark, or is substantially similar to a trademarked symbol, slogan, logo, or image, you can’t legally use it. It would be a shame to invest time and money into products labeled with a symbol, slogan, logo, or image that isn’t usable.
Considering Trademarking Your Symbol, Slogan, Logo, or Image?
If you are considering trademarking your symbol, slogan, logo, or image, contact Mohsen Para, Inc., a Professional Law Corporation. Mohsen Parsa offers trademark representation to businesses. In addition, he offers free consultations. As such, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, or in Orange County, call (949) 394-6930 to set up an appointment to discuss your trademark needs. Additionally, you should know that the Law Office of Mohsen Parsa is a full-service business law firm, offering businesses a full range of legal services related to your business. We look forward to developing a partnership with you that will withstand the test of time. Call today to get started.