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  • Peter Lamont, Esq.

The Benefits of Trademarking Your Business

A trademark is a valuable asset for businesses, protecting and distinguishing them from their competitors. While it may seem like an additional expense, it can provide invaluable protection against infringement and ensure that consumers recognize your business as the source of quality products or services. Let’s review what trademarking entails and why it is important for the success of your business.

What Is A Trademark?

A trademark is a unique symbol, phrase, or design used to distinguish one product or service from another. It can also be used to protect a company’s name, slogan, logo, or other intellectual property associated with its products or services. By registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you are legally protecting your brand identity by preventing others from using it without permission.

The Value of Trademark Registration

There are several reasons why registering your trademark can be beneficial for your business.

  • First, registering your trademark gives you exclusive rights to use it in commerce within the United States—meaning that no one else can use it without permission.

  • Second, registering your trademark will help you prevent others from using similar marks that could confuse customers into thinking they’re buying from someone else when they purchase from you.

  • Thirdly, having a registered trademark will give you more credibility in the eyes of potential customers who may not have heard about you before but want to be sure they are buying from a reputable source.

  • Finally, if someone does infringe on your mark without permission, having a registered mark will make it easier for you to take legal action against them because you have documented proof that they violated your mark's protected status.

What Can Be Trademarked?

Under current US trademark law, any word, phrase, symbols, design, or combination of these elements can be trademarked as long as it is not already in use by another company. This means that you could potentially trademark something like a slogan or logo. You may also be able to trademark some colors if they are used in a distinctive way to distinguish your products and services from those of competitors. Additionally, sounds can be trademarked as long as they have been recorded and stored in an appropriate format for use on the internet. However, keep in mind that even if you obtain a trademark registration for something like a sound or color, there may still be limits on how it can be used by other companies.

What Cannot Be Trademarked?

Not all words or logos can be trademarks since some of them are simply too generic to act as an identifier of your brand. For example, no one company can own the word “coffee” since it is too popular and widely used across many industries. Additionally, words that describe a product (such as “juice”) cannot typically be registered because others should also be able to use these words when describing their own products or services. Finally, trademarks must not contain any language that is offensive or disparaging toward any group of people. If you attempt to register such language with the USPTO (United States Patent & Trade Office), your application will likely be rejected.

How to File a Trademark

There are many complexities involved in filing a trademark. Below is a brief overview of the process.

1. Choose a Mark: The first step in the trademark registration process is to choose a distinct mark that you want to protect. There are a couple of considerations when choosing a trademark. First, ensure that your mark is truly unique and distinguishable from any existing mark. Second, make sure that your mark falls within the scope of the goods and services that you will offer.

2. Research: You will want to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website or a private trademark research database to make sure that your mark is not already taken.