A trademark is a name, colors, logo, or mark that distinguishes a company or products from others. The trademark issue should be a consideration made in the early stages of the business inception. Should we trademark? The answer is probably yes. It is vital to protect your brand name and anything else that refers to the business or products.
What are Some of the Things to Trademark?
The business name is an essential part of overall brand. When choosing the name, logo, and color, research to find out whether anyone else has registered it or it infringes other company’s trademark rights. Check also for trademark parody. This is when a name or logo plays down a famous trademark. Check online if other companies are using the same. Slogans too, can be registered as trademarks. In the USA, you cannot register a mark if you do not have any intention of using it.
When thinking of the brand name, the logo, slogans, and other features that identify the business operations, register the trademarks with the necessary authorities. This makes sure no one else can benefit or take advantage of your trade names when you have become a famous brand.
When Should Startups Think of Legal Protection
Involve intellectual property attorneys from the start. These professionals will make it easier to identify possible issues and concerns related to any proposed trademarks. If possible, identify more than one name or logo you want to have as a trademark.
A lawyer will check whether anyone else is using the same name or it can cause possible issues with famous brands. They will conduct a professional search both online and off and will also advise on whether the trademarks are appropriate for your company.
If you are thinking of venturing into other geographical regions, will the brand names and logos be appropriate? The spelling and pronunciation is also a consideration you should not forget. It should be easy to remember and not in any way be familiar to competitor brand names.
What Should You Do When Sued for Trademark Infringement?
Beyond the basics, a startup can be sued by an existing company for using trademarks that are similar or close to their own. In such a case, it is advisable that you seek legal advice. Should you fight for the trademark or let it go? Being a startup, you might not have much to lose when you choose another name or logo, but if you have a strong case, you can decide to go ahead and protect your intellectual property.
A lawyer may offer you advice on the way forward based on the available facts. Note that you have a lot to lose when you build a strong brand only for a more famous company to come along and claim it as infringing its trademark rights. The trademark can be worth millions of dollars when a brand becomes popular. In some cases, it might be the lifeline of the business.
A startup might think that it is not a significant thing to protect its trademark in the early stages, but this is not so. When you do everything right from the start, it means that competitors cannot come in and use the same names and logos that identify your business and claim as their own. You do not want to work hard to establish a brand, only to have someone else claim it as their own. This is not just bad for your business, it will also affect your customers. Some relate to you through the trademark. It might end up costing you the entire business because you did not take time to research on intellectual property, registering, and protecting them.