In essence, a trademark refers to a company’s branding. A trademark is a name, logo, or slogan that describes a company. One of the best benefits of a trademark is brand recognition.
You do not have to file for a Federal Trademark in order to preserve your trademark rights. Without a Federal Trademark Registration, you have what is considered a “common law” trademark. You still have trademark rights, but you do not have the right to sue in court to enforce your trademark rights, among other things.
Now, the question is, “I don’t plan on suing anyone, why would I file for a Federal Registration if my rights are still protected in common law rights?” Read on to find out!
Having a Federal Registration gives everyone in the United States notice that you have the rights to the name. Many new business owners aren’t aware of trademark laws, so they believe that if you are in business but don’t have a Federal Registration, they can still use the name and they may even file a trademark application. Yes, they can file an application even if you’re entitled to the trademark rights. If they were to file a trademark application, you still have the right to file an opposition or a cancellation proceeding. However, these processes may cost more than if you were to file your own application in the first place.
A Federal Registration provides more value to your business as a whole. If you ever think about selling your business, you can actually place a hard value on your Federally Registered Trademark. Your trademark is an asset, and it can have a value, just like your inventory and other assets. Your trademark also adds value with licensing. You can add licensing as an additional revenue stream if you have something other people want. This is where creating a valuable brand can really pay off.
Having a Federal Registration can lead to less work on your part in enforcing your mark. Once you file your application, your name will appear in searches conducted by examining attorneys in the trademark application process. If you have a smart attorney, they will have monitoring services for your name to alert them when an examining attorney cites your name as a reason to deny another application. This information can be valid evidence to prove trademark infringement on your own mark. Therefore, instead of continuously searching for infringing businesses, the USPTO will alert you of those infringers.
Filing a Federal Registration will cost money upfront. However, if you’re serious about maintaining your branding, a Federal Registration can honestly save much more money in the long run. There are strategic reasons for not filing a federal application. However, that topic is for another day.
If you’re interested in having an attorney help you through the trademark process, I’d be more than happy to help! Shoot me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Pricing starts at $1000 for one class, and payment plans are available!