So, you've finally come up with the perfect name for your company. However, this doesn't mean you can just start using it without filing for a business trademark first. Not only will this help you to avoid the potentially enormous expense of a lawsuit, but it will also help to protect your intellectual property. In fact, your business trademark can often end up becoming one of the most valuable parts of your company. No one, not even celebrities, is immune from the numerous legal complications that can come up if trademark law, whether nationally or internationally, isn't followed correctly.
Not Checking To See If It's Already In Use
Branding is the single most important part of building your company - and good branding starts with finding the perfect name. When you finally have your "Eureka!" moment, it can be tempting to just charge ahead and start stamping your name (or slogan) on everything in sight. However, doing this can get you into serious - not to mention costly - trouble.
In our years of experience though, we've seen a shockingly high number of companies that, for whatever reason, never took the trouble to make sure that their brand name hadn't already been registered and claimed by someone else. If someone else has already claimed the name of your dreams, you'll have to get back to the drawing board. While yes, this can be frustrating, it will save you lots of time, stress, and money. Before you place an order for your sign, thousands of dollars in branded marketing swag, and more check to make sure you're in the clear.
Trying To Get Away With A Subtle Change To A Popular Name
First of all, just think how you would feel if a company did this to you. Also, think about the kind of legal action you'd be just dying to take against the company that changed your name by one letter and tried to claim it as their own. It should be pretty obvious that if you start selling a soda called, "Koke," you're opening yourself up to a lot of trouble.
As long as there is a reasonable possibility of confusion between two company names, you'll be liable for copyright infringement. Besides, do you really want to be sending the message that all you are is a cheaper knock-off of another brand?
Not Using Your Trademark Often Enough
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but not using the name of your business trademark frequently enough can have an impact on the strength of your rights. We're going to let you in on a little industry secret. You know those famous trademarks - the kind that you can recognize right away, that you grew up seeing in the grocery store aisles?
First of all, keeping their trademark name the same after all these years is a great way to build brand consistency. But also, it ensures that their trademark stays protected. For example, let's say you decide to name your business "Great Shoes" (we're going to interrupt here and say that, if this is a name you actually chose, you may want to consult a branding expert.) If you sometimes stamp "Great Shoes" or "Really Great Shoes" or "Greatest Shoes" on your shoeboxes, your trademark use isn't consistent. If you keep doing this, not only will your branding get totally muddled, but you could also lose your trademark rights. Keep it consistent - for the sake of both your customers and your trademark.
Forgetting To Renew Your Company's Trademark
While we'd all like to live in a world where you only have to register your trademark once to have it be yours for all time and eternity, unfortunately, that's not the world we live in. We've seen lots of businesses get burned over the years and lose the name they've had for decades simply because they forgot to renew their trademarks.
Don't let this happen to you. Keep in mind that you'll need to renew your trademark depending on the specific laws of the country you registered it in, or as long as you're still using it. If for some reason you think you might be late when it comes to renewing your trademark, make sure you file an extension request.
Failing To Make Sure No One Else Is Using Your Trademark
Another kind of world we don't live in? One where no one is going to try to take your trademark and use it for their own business without your knowledge or permission. You'll need to constantly do what you can to ensure no one else is using your business trademark. While yes, conducting an online search every once in a while is one method of monitoring things, this is one area where it really helps to have a professional on your side.
Plus, you just want to make sure that your brand stays consistent - and that it stays loyal to your company and only your company. If you're not careful, your trademark could end up becoming a generic term. Don't think it could happen to you? Well, it happened to Aspirin, Yo-Yo, Zipper, and other brands on this list.
Need Additional Help With The Legalities Of Your Business Trademark?
Thanks to this article, now you know the mistakes you need to avoid when registering your company's trademark. But sometimes, the laws can still seem a little confusing. In these cases, you'll need the services of a professional. This is especially if you're working within international trademark laws. No matter where you're from, or the country in which you want to do business, we can help you make sure that you've done everything required to protect your intellectual property.
If you're dealing with a domain name dispute, need help with IP services, or are just looking to work with a team of professionals you can trust, we'll help you find the solution you're after. Get in touch with us today.
For an even more thorough explanation of the laws surrounding business trademark registration and regulation, check out this information from the official United States Patent And Trademark Office.