Is A Trademark Right for Your Business?

Johns Creek Business Lawyer

For a lot of business owners, having a trademark is a surefire sign that their company has made it. And why not? Its a symbol that a company has a unique idea that sets it apart from any other business, which often equates to higher market share in the minds of owners. But should it? Answer these initial questions to see if trademark protection is an available and worthwhile investment for your brand. 

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark, or service mark, is used to identify unique goods or services in the marketplace. Specifically, a trade – or service – mark is a way of identifying the source of the goods and/or services a particular company–in short, it is a way to identify a brand. Its how you can tell that the can of soda youre cracking open is a Coca-Cola® product before you even put your hands on it. It could be your businesss logo, slogan, color and type font for its logo, or even the name of the company itself. 

Trademarks, like patents and copyrights, are legally significant rights and they provide a way to protect your companys valuable intellectual property.  These rights attach to your mark as soon as it is used in commerce. However, to have the most protection for your brand, you should register your mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. 

Why should I register my brand mark with the USPTO?

If your companys brand grows to a level that it attracts customers by name recognition or by product precognition, it is probably a good time to consider registering your mark with the USPTO.  What is important to know about registering your mark is that there are general guidelines that all marks must meet to be federally protectable. 

Before you register a trademark, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What am I trying to trademark? Logos are the most common, but you can also protect the actual name of the company like Google® or Nike® without any style, color, or other identifiers. This broad mark protection allows these brands to use the names of their marks in various class categories.
  • Does what Im trying to trademark have significance to my company? Unless the mark brings with it market opportunity, it may be a waste of time and money to try and protect an insignificant mark. 
  • Is what Im trying to trademark merely descriptive of what the company does? For example, Grays Collision and Repair Shop” is likely to require a disclaimer over collision and repair shop” so unless there is a unique logo, image, coloring, or font being used for Grays,” it may not be a protectable mark.   
  • Would what Im trying to trademark be difficult for another company to imitate? The more unique the mark, the easier it will be to get federal protection. You can perform a search on the USPTO website to see if your intended mark has already been protected. 
  • Am I willing to go to court to protect what Im trademarking? If you arent ready to defend your mark, you should reconsider whether the mark is worth protecting in the first instance. 

By putting more thought into your prospective trademark, youre ensuring that your trademark will be the best possible representation of your company and the services and goods it provides its customers. 

Thats All Sounds Great, But Do I Need a Trademark Attorney in Georgia For This?

You may be able to go through the process of applying for and ultimately registering your trademark without an attorney. That said, there are many nuances to the USPTO registration process, and you can risk denial of your application if you are not familiar with those nuances. 

The process to go from Application to Registration will involve checking to ensure your prospective trademark doesnt already exist in the national registry, deciding on the type of trademark you want to apply for and the various classes of goods and/or services that your mark should be registered under, filling out all the applicable paperwork, compiling and submitting all necessary documentation, and waiting for the response from USPTO. Often times, an examining attorney will issue an office action or initial denial in response to your application, which requires a detailed legal analysis to overcome. Then theres the possibility you will actually need to deal with potential violators of your trademark. Waiting to hire an attorney until it is too late can cost your company valuable time and money. 

Georgia Trademark Lawyer Near Me

An experienced and qualified attorney will not only help you through the entire application process, saving you time that could be spent building the business you want to protect, but will make sure you only need to go through that process once–until the next good or service you want to trademark, that is. Not only that, but if you find a good attorney you want to build that long term professional relationship with, youll have somebody you trust at the ready when your trademarks are under attack. 

If you have additional questions about trademarks or would like to see how SAGE Business Counsel can help you protect your brand, contact us or call our office at (678) 729-9440

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