Federal trademark registration is essential to building and protecting your brand. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy process. Many businesses try to get a trademark and actually fail because they don’t follow the proper procedure from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Why Do You Need To Trademark Your Brand?
1 – A trademark creates legal ownership rights and prevents others from using the same or similar name which could affect customer acquisition and retention.
2 – A trademark is a form of intangible property. It can be bought, sold, and/or licensed just like any other form of business property and can increase or determine the value of your business as your brand grows in popularity. This can come in handy if you’re trying to attract investors or if you want to later sell your business.
What Do You Need To Do?
Here are some quick tips to help you through this important business start-up practice.
Research – Before you get started, you must first make sure your brand name is available and not already under trademark. By doing a simple trademark search you can avoid being sued for infringement on another’s rights and force to change/remove your brand after your business and reputation is established.
Hire An Attorney – Not exactly the most fun part of this process and it can be expensive, however, it will cost you way more in the long run if the trademark isn’t done right and someone steals your brand. Being that this is a government and a legal process, having the right trademark or patent attorney can make the process go a lot smoother for you not to mention properly. Your attorney can also help with the trademark search to ensure you haven’t missed any potential duplicates.
Apply For Your Trademark – Again, having an attorney is key to making sure you do this step to the letter. The filing fee is $325 per class, per good, which means anything regarding your brand that needs a trademark will have to be applied for and filed separately. That expense can add up, so you really want to make sure you get it right out of the gate! If approved, you will receive your certificate within 8 months of filing. If rejected, you will receive notification within 4 months.
Protect Your Trademark – Once your trademark is in place, it’s not forever. You do have to monitor it. Trademarks must be renewed on the 5th anniversary of obtaining, the 10th anniversary, and every 10 years after. During your trademarked years, you must make sure you keep an eye on it and your rights. Keep an eye out for competitors and copycats looking to cash in on your good name.
Have you trademarked your business? Hopefully these tips will help you make the most important step in building your brand.