How Do I Properly Secure My Trademark?
Branding is of critical importance to most businesses and protecting your brand by securing your trademark is an important first-step on your way to success.
While there are many different ways to protect your intellectual property, trademarks are those that deal specifically with the protection of a name, word, slogan, design, symbol or image which identifies a business or brand and helps to distinguish it from others within the same field or industry.
Trademarks are what ensures that somebody can’t just open a coffee shop and call themselves Starbucks to cash in on their name and reputation, or that Samsung can’t release a new phone called the iPhone.
Every business owner knows that building a successful business takes a lot of hard work. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to manufacture incredible new products, sell amazing coffee, or just offer the best landscaping service in Texas, a business relies on its brand and reputation to set themselves apart, differentiate themselves from the competition, and to both attract and retain customers. A strong brand is valuable, and it’s important to take steps to properly secure your trademark so that competitors don’t steal what you’ve worked so hard to build.
In order to properly secure your trademark, you should first ensure that you are aren’t already walking a fine line when it comes to brand confusion. This involves thoroughly checking existing trademarks, while also ensuring that any potentially trademarkable names or materials aren’t too generic. The fact is, you should know whether the name is defendable prior to trademarking it, because in some trademark dispute cases it may be expensive to prove, or, in the worst case, the battle may already be lost. This foundation ensures that you have a strong trademark which will be hard for competitors to steal.
If we compare about protecting intellectual property to a winning sports team, then choosing names, slogans, or logos that you not only want to protect, but will be able to protect, is like mounting a strong offense. While a generic term like “hamburgers” wouldn’t be protectable in a fast food restaurant, the term Apple is, when used in the context of a computer company. These arbitrary marks are considered some of the strongest levels of trademark protection, rather than more descriptive names like “A+ Landscaping” which may be considered weak.
Going back to our sports team analogy, the defense comes into play once you have registered your trademark and begin to use it, and it involves a three-step process. One, you should be properly using your trademark. Two, remain vigilant and monitor for potential infringements on your trademark. And three, crack down on those who are infringing upon your trademark.
This defensive posture is important and will allow you to nip any other companies’ use of names, phrases, or images like yours before they grow into much larger problems. The fact is, if you let infringements of your trademark happen without any response, then you risk losing the legal right to that mark. After all, if you don’t take the trademark seriously, then the courts won’t take it seriously either.
The team of intellectual property lawyers at Fears Nachawati can explain every aspect of the process and help identify which aspects of your business or idea are most in need of protection. A concrete plan of action to protect your intellectual property can be one of the best contributors to the long-term success of your business.
Don’t wait to legally protect your intellectual property. Schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team by calling at (866) 705-7584, or by visiting the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.