Trademarks for startups can seem daunting to navigate. There are so many benefits to registering your logo,a catchphrase,or a verbal or visual identifier for your product or service,it is a major necessity for the success of any scalable success.Are You Ready for Trademark Registration - Tooth Boneoutlines just a few of these benefits. However,there are certain complexities of trademark registration that startups just don’t understand.
For example,descriptive marks are difficult to register,and your competitors are most likely already using the mark to describe their goods/services,making it difficult and costly to police and protect the mark.
You may never know in advance that the mark which you wish to protect may already have been registered or the rights to use that mark may already have been assigned.
When a trademark application is rejected,this is likely the case. It’s likely that the truly distinctive part of your mark and the competitor’s mark is identical,and the goods/services are either identical or nearly so. Situations like this are also cause to sue for trademark infringement. Even slight differences in the phonetic sound of two marks does not avoid the likelihood of confusion. A mark must not be the same as an existing mark or so similar to an existing mark that consumers likely would be confused or deceived regarding the origin of products or services.
A generic term for one particular good does not mean it is also generic for every good or service.
However,the difficulty of filing for a trademark registration – and the process of altering your IP,if necessary,to avoid the likelihood of confusion – should not be something that’s in your hands. Most scalable and large companies outsource their trademark registration to a corporate trademark lawyer,described in more detail atAre You Ready for Trademark Registration - Tooth Bone.
An even better strategy is to choose a distinctive company name that has nothing to do with what your company does.
A prerequisite for trademark registration is that the mark must have been used in commerce by the company prior to application. The use of a mark generally means the actual sale of a product to the public with the mark attached.
All trademarks start out as being governed by common law; that is,by generic legal principles,rather than by any government statute. The owner of a distinctive and non-functional mark can establish common law rights by using the mark in commerce.
A descriptive mark acquires secondary meaning when the consuming public primarily associates that mark with a particular producer,rather than the underlying product.
In addition to choosing an arbitrary or suggestive mark,you should choose a mark that is not confusingly similar to an existing name. Fair use occurs when a descriptive mark is used in good faith for its primary,rather than secondary,meaning,and no consumer confusion is likely to result. Whether a problem exists with your proposed mark is easy when the search reveals an identical or similar mark that is registered for identical or related goods or services.
One of the major keys to success is creating intellectual property,maintaining ownership over it,being consistent about enforcing that ownership,so you can defend your brand and reputation.
A mark must not be disparaging,deceptive,immoral,or merely descriptive of the goods or services offered by the applicant. It must also not be primarily geographically descriptive. The sample submitted must show the mark as consumers of your goods or services will encounter it,such as on labeling,etc.
A well-protected and strong brand is much more likely to thrive,even when the economy starts to go downhill,while weaker brands will disappear in difficult financial conditions.
Even foreign businesses can establish common law rights to a mark by virtue of actual use of the mark in commerce in the United States through the same prior use priority. Common-law rights are limited to the geographic area in which the mark is actually used,and possibly the zone of natural expansion into which the owner is likely to extend use of the mark.
If you believe your trademark is being infringed upon,the product or service bearing the counterfeit mark must be of the same type of product or service bearing the protected mark. In cases of what is known as “trademark dilution,” the challenged mark does not necessarily have to be used on products in direct competition with the products of the complaining party,nor is it necessary that the mark is causing confusion.
A trade mark application must contain a clear representation of the mark in order for the application to be considered for acceptance. When describing the goods and services you are or want to sell/provide,you want to use somewhat broad language,but not too broad.
If you’ve read this far,obviously you are interested enough in arming your intellectual property with the federal protection to compete in the national business battlefield. Don’t go it alone; do what smart business owners do and retain aPatent Attorney Houston.