New businesses generally have limited overhead and therefore it is essential to evaluate whether it is important to acquire a trademark at an early stage.
One of the key advantages to registering a trademark is that you gain federal protection, therefore anyone in the United States is put on notice to your use, and another party using a similar or confusingly similar mark may be liable for trademark infringement. This can be a powerful tool in protecting your brand name and ensuring your market share.
Remember that a business name alone does not give you exclusive rights or ownership to that mark. Neither does it prevent copy cats from utilizing the same name and therefore, potentially eating up some of your market share. Utilizing a business name over the years may provide you with common law rights, however protecting a business or brand name without registering is likely to be much more difficult and expensive to defend in the long run. Furthermore, common law rights are nowhere as strong as obtaining the federal protection that registration of a trademark grants.
A trademark gives your business an identity or a brand. You will have exclusive rights to the commercial use, license or sale of your business name or trademark. Furthermore, once registered a trademark right can carry on indefinitely, as long as the maintenance requirements are met. Moreover, registering a mark helps establish validity, provide notice of your rights to others, provide an additional business asset for sale or financing, increasing the strength of the mark and this in turn increases the value of your IP portfolio.
Another advantage of registering a trademark is the ability for the mark to become incontestable. After 5 years of unopposed registration, the trademark becomes incontestable. What this means is that it can not be attacked on the ground of being merely descriptive-and therefore, ineligible for registration. As such, moving to register trademark design and other elements is generally a good business decision.
If you have questions about getting your trademarks registered, feel free to get in touch. We have successfully filed and acquired many trademarks and can easily assist you with your needs.