A trademark is any “word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” which is used in commerce to distinguish certain goods from similar goods and help consumers identify the source of those goods. Trademarks that are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) principal register receive a number of legal protections.
Legal Protections For Trademarks
After registering your company’s trademarks with the USPTO, you put other companies and entrepreneurs on notice of your registration rights. Other similar trademarks are unlikely to gain federal registration. If you catch anyone infringing on your trademarks, you have the right to pursue a variety of damages, including:
- Profits gained by the defendant due to infringement;
- Lost profits you otherwise would have received if not for the infringement; and
- Attorneys fees.
In the U.S., using unregistered marks in commerce provides the holder with limited rights. For instance, your company’s trademarks might be recognized in a certain geographic area. Conversely, obtaining federal registration provides protection from infringers across the country.
Trademarks Are the Most Valuable Assets For Startups
Having one or more unique branding components for your startup may well be the most important asset for your fledgling company. A significant component of any company’s value is the goodwill it generates. Without federally protected trademarks, it is difficult for a company to gain traction with its goodwill and, thus, command a higher valuation.
Solidifying your company’s goodwill can help you secure funding and maximize its value if you decide to sell. It can also help your startup attract top talent and get recurring revenue through trademark licensing arrangements. If nothing else, holding federally registered trademarks can lend your company a gravitas it wouldn’t otherwise have.
Trademarks Require Continual Maintenance
You still have plenty of ongoing obligations after the USPTO registers your company’s trademarks. The USPTO requires trademark holders to periodically file papers affirming their trademarks are continually being used in commerce. Applying for federal trademark registration is not simply a “set it and forget it” situation.
Trademark holders also need an effective trademark monitoring system that alerts them if a similar mark emerges in the marketplace. It is not the responsibility of the USPTO to catch trademark infringers. In fact, trademark holders who fail to take actions to protect their intellectual property are at greater risk of losing federal protections.
Doida Crow Legal Helps Entrepreneurs Protect Intellectual Property
Crafting an effective strategy for protecting your company’s trademarks is crucial in its early stages. Building brand awareness is difficult without a proactive intellectual property strategy, and our team would be more than happy to help you secure the necessary legal protections.
Doida Crow Legal provides a number of flat-fee legal packages. Having price certainty from the start helps us better serve you and, accordingly, reach your entrepreneurial objectives. Contact us today to discuss your legal needs.