A trademarked business is an official firm acknowledged by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Whether your business small or not, if your company’s name has its trademark, then you have higher chances of success.
Additionally, your brand is protected by common law and the USPTO. So, in case someone infringes on your rights, you can win in court.
Down the line, if your business becomes a leader in your field, your trademark could be worth millions.
Alternatively, if you don’t protect your trademark and use it correctly, you may damage your agency and lose a lot of money.
So, without further ado, here are eleven small business trademark mistakes that cost you money.
1. You think that you can work on your trademark by yourself
You may think that the trademarking process is easy to complete: you just apply for it. However, it is not that simple.
Your business may be small, and you might not have many funds available. Nevertheless, you should consider employing a lawyer specialized in intellectual property rights.
You don’t have the experience particular attorneys do. As a result, if you do it by yourself, you may spend more money or you may fail.
Additionally, according to a North Carolina University study, those who use a specialized attorney for trademark applications have a higher success rate.
People with legal representation have 83 percent chances to get approved, while the rest have 57 percent.
Intellectual property lawyers can help you with detailed information regarding your application, trademark search, infringement laws, and more.
2. You think that your trademark is strong enough on its own
Trademarking your brand’s name is not enough to protect it. You may want to look for infringements from other brands.
Search in the USPTO database regularly. Also, Google your brand and see what appears. Don’t forget about social media platforms.
If you have the funds, you can charge someone to monitor your trademark.
3. You didn’t pair your trademark with your socials and URLs
When you obtain a trademark for your company, remember to secure the brand’s name on social platforms and URLs.
Otherwise, someone might take advantage of your trademark and social media.
In the worst case, they might start posting inappropriate or controversial content that may damage your brand’s reputation.
You can even lose your company because of it.
So, if you don’t want to spend a lot of funds, time, and effort trying to reclaim it, improve your trademark strategy.
Make sure that you obtain your trademark, not just your trade name, if you want to avoid confusion and legal complications.
4. The name of your agency describes its services
Your company should have a unique name that isn’t just a descriptive title. Unless you are a pioneer in a specific field, many businesses within your industry probably have a similar name.
This could mean that you have fewer chances of trademarking your brand.
For example, custom paper websites and assignment help services often have similar names that describe the occupation of the business.
However, only a part of those sites has a trademarked name because they were pioneers in the field.
Multiple web domains with similarly descriptive names tend to confuse the customer. As a result, the USPTO bureau rejects their trademark application.
So, remember to choose an original name for your brand before you even start to invest in it.
5. You assume that your brand is already trademarked if it includes your name
You may think that your first or last name is original and that it acts as a trademark for your brand. Nevertheless, you still need to register it to the USPTO bureau.
Besides, the list of descriptive brand names includes personal names. So, you have low chances to gain rights to it.
Moreover, you may not be the only one with your first or last name.
6. You thought that your brand name is available since it doesn’t appear in the USPTO list
Let’s assume that you looked your brand’s name up in on the USPTO site, and you couldn’t find anything similar to yours.
You may think that your company name is ready for use. However, this is a misconception.
If you wish to trademark your name, then your name shouldn’t appear in the database. Otherwise, it means that you can’t trademark it since someone else already has rights on it.
The second step, though, is to check other registered firms that aren’t trademarked. If you want to mark your company’s name, then it shouldn’t contrast with any other name.
Searching online is not enough. So, start conducting an in-depth search about other brand names similar to your own. You can hire a company to see if other firms have your brand name.
7. You think that your trademark gives you the right to use your brand name
You can use your trademarked name as long as the product and services belong to it.
When you apply for your company’s trademark, you also include under it all the services and products of your business.
Therefore, the trademark only covers those.
If you don’t want legal trouble, talk to your specialized lawyer. A generic description isn’t enough.
Your attorney can help you include all of the services offered and goods within your brand.
8. You believed that your name is automatically trademarked because it is unique
Just because your company’s name wasn’t used before doesn’t mean that you own it yet.
The only way to have rights on your brand’s name is through trademarking. Unless you acquire an official USPTO registration, your name isn’t trademarked.
The mark helps your agency’s name to be exclusively yours. It will also offer legal help you in case someone infringes on it.
9. You didn’t register the name of your brand as a trademark
There’s a difference between trademark and trade name.
A trademark is the company’s name registered at USPTO. In this case, you own the trademark because you paid for it.
A trade name is just a registered name which allows you to practice your business legally within a region. In this case, you don’t own the trademark yet and you may encounter obstacles if you expand your firm.
10. You think that your trademark is yours forever
You may think that you register your brand’s name once, and then it’s yours for eternity. However, this is not the case.
After you register your mark, you may want to use it as much as you can within legal limits. Otherwise, you can lose it.
Additionally, you need to update your trademark registration during the following years:
- The fifth and sixth year of activity since the trademark;
- The ninth and tenth year of activity since the trademark;
- Every ten years after the first decade since the trademark.
If you fail to renew your mark, the USPTO could remove your trademark and offer it to someone else.
11. You aren’t using your trademark properly
After you trademark your brand’s name, use it properly, as described in your registration. The mark on your goods notices clients and other businesses that the product is yours, legally.
Use it on all of your services and products. This way, if someone infringes on your rights, you can sue them and win in court.
Use your trademark properly and as often as you can on the registered products and services. Monitor your brand’s name and work with an attorney.
Lastly, renew your rights every couple of years.
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Justin is a marketing specialist and essay writer from Leicester, UK. When not working and rooting for Leicester FC, he likes to discuss new trends in digital marketing and share his own ideas with readers on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at bestessays.com.