A registered trademark can increase the offline and online visibility and presence of your business. At the same time, establishing your trademark in your market niche can increase your sales volume and improve your profit margin.
Familiarizing yourself with the trademark facts and basics is important. If you do not have the resources to do this, get the help of a trademark lawyer about establishing a legally protected trademark for your business.
A trademark lawyer (also known as a trademark attorney) is a professional who is licensed to act in matters concerning trademark law and legal trademark practice. Your trademark lawyer can also provide you with legal advice regarding trademark design and infringement protection.
This article summarizes the key points of using a trademark for your business, particularly when you’ll need the help of a trademark attorney.
1. Trademark Application.
You can submit a trademark application or a trademark agent, which is an easy process to complete. While it’s not a requirement for US citizens to hire a lawyer when registering a trademark, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) highly recommends hiring a trademark lawyer to prepare and file your trademark application because, in the process, legal decisions need to be made.
Before you commit any money for a specific trademark, involving the expertise of a qualified and experienced trademark lawyer is highly recommended. For a startup business, you can consult a trademark attorney Colorado to seek guidance and understand the trademark facts and basics.
Here’s how a trademark lawyer can help you with your trademark application:
- An experienced lawyer can answer all your questions about trademarks, trademark laws, and other intellectual properties.
- A trademark attorney is highly knowledgeable about the legal technicalities of filing a trademark registration, making the process easier for you.
- A trademark lawyer can help and eliminate expensive mistakes in using a company trademark.
- A trademark lawyer can help you in drafting your trademark application.
- To save you time and stress, the lawyer can also help you get the trademark registered so that you can focus on your business.
- If you have been using a trademark, an experienced trademark lawyer can guide you to benefit from federal registration.
- A trademark lawyer can help you in all trademark matters that require a trademark, slogan, logo, or any other forms of intellectual property protection.
- With the help of a trademark lawyer, you’ll be advised and assisted in meeting USPTO requirements before you apply for a trademark.
2. Meeting USPTO Requirements.
Remember that any mistakes in completing USPTO requirements while filing your trademark can be corrected. However, correcting the mistakes is a separate procedure that can also use up your time and resources. With the experience and help of a trademark lawyer, you can avoid this altogether.
3. Trademark Research.
Acquire a legally acceptable and suitable slogan and trademark for your business with the help of an experienced trademark lawyer. Your lawyer can create a research report about your trademark and inform you about what you need to know. You can ask questions or seek clarification about the trademark registration process and pricing.
Among the most common errors in trademark research are: ignoring trademark protection or availability; incorrect ways of using the TM or SM symbols, use of misleading, generic or suggestive terms, symbols or images on the trademark, use of confusing or similar trademarks, and neglecting trademark-affecting elements such as social media handles and electronic domains. An experienced trademark attorney can help you avoid these mistakes.
4. Avoid Legal Issues.
A trademark lawyer can help you avoid potential conflicts that may arise during as well as after the registration process. For instance, if you already acquired and used a trademark, your attorney can research further to check for any trademark infringements. Your lawyer can legally settle the case if conflicts arise, saving you from further damage.
5. Enforce Your Trademark.
Aside from trademark registration, a trademark attorney can help you in enforcing your trademark. At the same time, your trademark lawyer can assist if ever you get a cease-and-desist letter, which is the first step of litigation. This can mean that you have to stop using your trademark or service mark if another company files a trademark infringement claim against your business trademark.
For startup businesses, trademark registration requires knowledge of trademark law and all trademark procedures. In this context, choosing a knowledgeable trademark lawyer will make your life a lot easier.
6. Avoid Trademark Mistakes.
You have put a lot of time into building your brand. From your business name to packaging, you must see to it that your brand is well protected under trademark law and that there are no legal mistakes that make your brand vulnerable to attacks. For instance, with the help of a trademark lawyer, you’ll avoid common trademark mistakes such as these:
a. Improper Use of the TM Symbol.
The “TM” symbol is usually referred to as a “common law” or “poor man’s” trademark. Its reach is highly limited to certain geographic boundaries that your business operates. If another company files a trademark application using the exact trademark, then the company supersedes your right in using the original if you haven’t registered yours. Protect your trademark by registering it with the USPTO. Once you have filed a trademark application and already received a trademark grant from the USPTO, that’s when you can use the TM symbol.
b. Failure to Use Trademark In Commerce.
Your company doesn’t have to register a trademark. However, if you must use one, then you should apply for a trademark. Before you apply for a trademark, you should use it first in commercial contexts aligned with your specific products and services.
If you cannot use a trademark in commerce before applying for USPTO permission, you should apply for an Intent-to-Use with the USPTO. It should state your intent to use the trademark at a later date commercially.
The trademark registration process only starts when you start using your desired trademark in commerce. By then, you can file a statement of use, which is a document that declares how the trademark is being used. You can file a statement of use up to 36 months from the issuance of your Intent-to-Use declaration.
c. Haphazard Trademark Research.
The USPTO highly recommends businesses to search the trademark filing database thoroughly. You should research abandoned trademark registrations for similar trademarks.
Failure to conduct thorough research can lead to legal consequences. A trademark lawyer can do this task so that you can avoid the hassle and stress associated with trademark research.
d. Using A Generic Trademark.
Make sure that you have a distinctive trademark because a trademark application that only uses descriptive terms for products and services will be rejected.
Also, generic terms are unacceptable and make you ineligible for trademark protection since they belong to a general class instead of a specific company brand.
e. Wrong Trademark Class.
When filling up the trademark application form, you should describe your products or services in detail. At the same time, you must use the right trademark class. For instance, if you’re selling cellphones, you should not register your logo under the class for appliances.
For whatever reason, do not be tempted to list your business in every product or service class. This is illegal.
Trademark lawyers specialize in handling all trademark matters and can be excellent business resources. Whether you’re registering or enforcing your trademark, hiring an experienced trademark lawyer can help you save time, money, and effort from common trademark mistakes.
Startup business owners are highly advised to take trademark registration seriously. Your brand is best represented by your trademark, so you want to make it unique and appealing to your target audience without breaking the law. Hire a trademark lawyer to help you do it right the first time.