When you’re starting a new business or launching a new product, it doesn’t take long before you realize the importance of a trademark to your brand identity. Good trademarks usually become a powerful part of a company’s brand recognition among consumers, but finding the perfect trademark and protecting it can be difficult.
- Registration of your trademark isn’t necessarily required — but it is smart. Registration means that your trademark will be in the official listings, give you the right to use the registration symbol next to your trademark, allow you to stop imported goods from infringing on your usage and permit you to sue for infringement in federal court.
- There’s no substitute for good research when selecting a trademark. The registration fees are not refundable, so you don’t want to submit your paperwork until you’re sure that your trademark is available and meets all the criteria.
- A search can start with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, through their online database, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to research state databases, business listings, online and in court records to be certain the mark is available.
- Descriptive and generic trademarks can invite unnecessary scrutiny and cause your application to be rejected. Whimsical, made-up and arbitrary trademarks are less likely to run into a problem and more likely to pass scrutiny.
Mistakes in your application or incomplete research can send you back to the beginning of the process — setting you back months and potentially hundreds of dollars.