Running a business is no small feat. You must be proactive to get clients, make sales and profits, and grow your business. One way of ensuring this is standing out amongst your competitors and creating a brand identity. Getting a trademark will help grow your brand identity.
A trademark is a logo, expression, or design you use to identify your services or products. It distinguishes you from competitors. However, it shouldn’t stop there. You should register it to prevent other brands from using the same trademark. If this happens, it might confuse your customers and even lose them in the process.
Registering a trademark requires you to be careful to avoid errors that make the process lengthy and frustrating. This article discusses the dos and don’ts of the process to assist you. Read on for the insight!
Know What is a Trademark?
The first step in registering a trademark is to understand what a trademark entails. Besides the basic definition of a trademark, you should know its full definition based on your state.
For instance, most states require the trademark not to have obscene words, double meanings, plurals, verbs, or generic words. Knowing this lets you know how to frame your trademark before starting the registration process. You don’t want to start the process only to be informed the name doesn’t qualify to be trademarked.
File For A Statement Of Use
Trademark registration aims to protect a name that’s in use and not one not being actively used by the registering party. Based on this, most states require you to file for a statement of use.
It’s a document that proves your use of the trademark after registering it. In most cases, the registering body will issue you with a notice of allowance after a successful registration. You’ll then file the statement of use of the trademark within six months of the notice. This document should include proof of using the trademark on your goods or services.
How much does a statement of use cost? It’s a question you might ask. Different states charge differently; if you live in the US, expect to pay approximately USD$100 per class.
Trademark registration often happens on a first come, first serve basis. There’s a possibility of another business filing to register a logo similar to yours. Should they get their registration first, your filing won’t follow through, taking you back to square one.
Therefore, it’s important to act promptly. It’s advisable to work on your trademark as soon as you start your business if you plan on trademarking. However, please don’t rush the process and end up making errors. Be fast but thorough.
Ensure The Trademark Is Unique
When creating a logo, phrase, or design, you might have followed all the rules of creating one. However, its rejection is possible if there’s a similar one in existence that’s been trademarked. You can counter this by ensuring your trademark is unique. How?
Be sure to use logos and expressions that are more challenging to create. It reduces the chances of other businesses creating the same. You’ll do this by taking the time to create your phrase or logo.
Also, ensure your final design isn’t already in use. You can use various online sources to find out about the similarity with an already existing one. The more unique your design or logo is, the higher the chances of successfully trademarking it.
Do Not Work Independently
Filing for trademark registration is often an easy process, with some registering bodies allowing an online process. The issue arises in errors you might make during the process, making it frustrating.
For example, your brand name might be Jay, which is what you want to trademark. However, when filing the form, there are sections you fill Jays. The two are different, and the registration process won’t be successful.
Working with a trademark agent or professional will minimize, if not eliminate, such possibilities. These professionals are proficient at their job, ensuring no errors with the process.
They’ll also act as the bridge of communication between you and the trademark registering body. As you work with these professionals, ensure they’re good at what they do and have worked with several other clients. It’d help to ask to see their portfolio of clients as proof.
Do Not Fail To Renew
As previously stated, trademark registration isn’t a one-step process. You have to be proactive to retain your trademark rights. One such way is through renewal.
Most states will require that you renew your trademark registration after ten years from the registration date. After this, you’ll need to do the renewal every ten years. The renewal shows the registering body you’re still using the trademark and won’t give it away.
As you count these years, take note of the specific registration date and work from there. Please don’t work with the month of registration. You might fall victim to delayed renewal that sees you lose your trademark.
Do Not Fail To Monitor
Monitoring your trademark upon its registration is crucial. Other businesses might use your trademarked expression or logo due to an honest mistake or with malicious intent. As a business, you want to avoid this as much as possible. You might lose clients, where customers buy from the other business because they think it’s your brand due to the phrase or logo.
The only way to avoid the infringement of your trademark rights is to monitor other businesses. Be on the lookout for any other business using your trademark or one similar to yours, which might cause confusion. Should you find any, you can report the matter or seek legal action. Different states have varying ways of handling this. Be sure to find out what works in your state.
Brand identity through a logo or phrase takes time and a lot of effort from you and your team. Therefore, it’s only right that you protect it. You don’t want other businesses to reap from your sweat.
The discussion above shows that the right way to protect your brand identity is to trademark it, which necessitates registration. It has further gone to discuss the dos and don’ts of the process to ensure you get it right.
As a business owner looking to trademark a sign, expression, or design, highly consider using the insight from this read. The process will be much easier and faster.