TRADEMARK SEARCH & REGISTRATION
It is important for new business owners to build and grow a valuable identity within their particular market through a unique brand name and logo(s). Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is a necessary first step to avoid unknowingly infringing on another’s trademark, which can have very costly consequences for business owners. From there, federal trademark registration is essential to obtain maximum legal protection for your own brand.
A trademark functions as your business’s name tag in the marketplace. Trademark law protects the distinctive names and logos businesses use to label themselves and their products in the marketplace. Trademarks help consumers distinguish your business from your competitors, and they gain value as consumers learn to associate your brand with the special qualities of your business and its services or products.
A trademark search screens the marketplace for preexisting marks that are confusingly similar to your desired mark. Developing a trademark that is confusingly similar to a preexisting trademark carries the risk of future litigation for trademark infringement, which can result in expensive legal costs, loss of rights in your mark, and undergoing expensive re-branding. It can also prevent you from successfully gaining the added protection of federal trademark registration.
For business owners who want to build a valuable brand identity, federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is key to obtaining maximum legal protection for your brand names and logos.
Federal trademark registration offers the following benefits:
- Provides nationwide constructive notice that you own the registered mark
- Protects against registration of confusingly similar marks
- Nationwide exclusive usage rights
- Grants the right to use the ® symbol with your mark
- Grants the right to bring trademark infringement actions in federal court
- Provides a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries as your business expands
- Gain the heightened protection of “incontestable” status 5 years after registration
We often recommend the broader protection of Federal trademark registration, but some clients can better meet their needs through state level registration. Just as trademark owners can register their trademarks with the federal government, they can also obtain registration in individual states.
State registration may be useful for businesses that only do business within their home state. State registration also carries the benefits of cheaper registration fees and a faster registration process.