If you have put in the hard yards building and developing your brand then it is up to you to protect all of that hard work. Imagine how you would feel if consumers start to recognize your product or service only for someone else to start using your company name or logo. In order to protect your business it is vital you register a trademark so others cannot profit from your hard work. Here we will examine what a registered trademark is and the steps you can take to protect your developing brand.
Understanding What a Trademark Is
Before taking any steps to register a trademark it is important to have an understanding of the benefits of trademark registration. In essence it will confirm you as the legal owner of a name, brand or logo and will stop your competitors using that name (or similar names) to provide goods and services.
Unfortunately some business owners believe that simply registering a domain or company name will offer them all the protection they need. The facts are that to legally protect your business you will need to register anything to do with your brand as a trademark. Imagine successfully building a business only for someone else to legally register its name and enjoy the benefits of all your efforts.
The Basics of Registering Your Trademark
In the USA, trademark applications are filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This is the department responsible for issuing all trademarks and as such they will only be recognized in law when issued and approved through the USPTO. However before you make any application you need to conduct a search to ensure no one else is currently using the trademark you wish to register. This can be done at the USPTO website and is a vital step before filing any application.
Once this has been established you can begin the application process. This again can be done online at the USPTO website. You are provided with step by step instructions and it is just a matter of following them until the application is complete. However completing and filing your application does not mean your trademark is registered.
It will go into a review process and needs to be approved by a U.S. government official. If there are any issues that need clarification you will be asked to respond within six months or your application will be considered abandoned. This is why it is vitally important you monitor your application and make sure you pay regular visits to the USPTO website.
Final Protection for You and Your Brand
It can take upwards of twelve months for your trademark application to be approved. Once approval has been granted then you will receive a Trademark Registration Certificate from the USPTO and you and your business will have the full protection of the law. This means that all the effort and money it takes to build a brand cannot be taken away by some unscrupulous competitor and you can enjoy complete peace of mind.
Although the steps described above are relatively simple many business owners will use the services of a Trademark Attorney when registering their trademark. This is something you may wish to consider as some aspects of the process can be a little technical and, using an attorney can mean there are no hitches in your application and your business can enjoy full trademark protection that much quicker.