What are trademarks

Protecting Your Brand: Trademarks Explained

Why Trademark?

 Do you care about your brand’s reputation?

Do you know how to protect your business’ slogan, name, or logo?

Establishing a recognizable brand is vital to entrepreneurial and business success, and protecting that brand is just as important. One of the riskier things a newer company can do is overlook the importance of securing their brand through trademarks.


What Does A Trademark Do? 

What does a trademark cover?  Why would I ever need a trademark?

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device used to identify a good or service from other brands and competitors. It can even be how something looks, or a defining color.

A trademark allows you to build brand reputation and brand loyalty amongst customers and prevents others from stealing your creative mark, idea, name, or symbol. Having a trademark is good business!

Some well-known trademark examples you may recognize include:

The “Apple” symbol for computers

The Nike swoosh for sports apparel

The “I’m loving it” slogan for McDonald’s

If these hugely successful companies have a trademark, there must be a good reason for it—and there is!

Applying for a trademark now can save you from complex and pricey lawsuits in the future. It also ensures that you are protected from someone else coming along and filing on a similar name, selling similar things or offering similar services. It is safer to protect yourself by filing for trademark registration now rather than face a costly battle in the future or risk your competition stealing your good name or idea!


How Do I Get a Trademark?

 Small businesses and entrepreneurs sometimes shy away from trademarking their brand name or logo because of how complex the process can seem. Here are some preliminary ways to get acquainted with the process:


Step 1:

You will need to make sure your trademark idea is not already taken. You can begin by checking online to see whether your brand idea is already out there. Starting with your search engine of choice is a great place to start. If you want to look at whether someone officially filed a trademark for their brand or idea, you can do this through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or reaching out to us for a complimentary trademark knock-out search!

Step 2:

Apply for federal trademark protection through the USPTO.

Step 3:

Wait for approval. Once your application is approved, you will be granted exclusive legal rights to that trademark. There are lots of great ideas out there, so sometimes you could receive an “Office Action” in response to defend your mark’s uniqueness.  A trademark Office Action could be as straightforward as a clarification or as involved as distinguishing your brand from others who filed before you. A response could direct you to any closely related brands and may require you to change some things up to get protection.

Step 4:

After overcoming any obstacles and a period of public notice, you can start using that cool little R symbol!

What Does My Trademark Protect?

A trademark protects the goods or services you offer and prevents other companies from infringing (meaning using your brand without your permission) or from damaging your reputation.

For example, let’s say you create the most comfortable sneaker in the world and your customers start to associate your logo with the comfort of your shoe.

If Cory Copycat comes around and starts making sandals with your logo on them, customers are going to think that they are made by you.

What happens when Cory Copycat’s sandals feel like nails on the bottom of your feet? Your footwear reputation is going to tank!

Do not let those like Cory Copycat walk all over you. By having a trademark registration, you have legal options to prevent others from using something that could confuse their brand with yours.


More Questions About Protecting Your Brand?

Not only does your trademark define your business but it also helps provide long-term value. This brand recognition gives you the upper hand in legal situations that may arise with competitors who are trying to copy your name.


Protect yourself and protect your brand!


Have more questions about trademarks and how they might be able to help your brand? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Wilson Dutra Innovation Law today to discuss all things branding!