Proper selection and use of a trademark can create a powerful brand for your business. The strongest trademarks do not simply describe the good or service identified with the mark, instead they are arbitrary or fanciful. That is, those marks that do not call to mind the associated good or service intuitively tend to be more legally protected than those that do. A company’s trademark should be chosen wisely and protected vigorously because the loss of the ability to use one’s trademark can cost even a small company tens of thousands of dollars in re-branding efforts and lost revenue.
Before a company invests in branding itself with the use of a trademark, it is often a good idea to perform a trademark search. Trademark searches are most beneficial before a trademark has been used because this is the least expensive time to change a trademark if the results of the search show that there is a likelihood that the trademark cannot be registered or may infringe another’s trademark. However, a trademark search can be done at anytime to check the strength of one’s mark and to become aware of potential trademark infringement issues.
Once a trademark has been selected, it may be registered. Although a trademark owner has trademark rights even in the absence of registration, trademark registration can provide important benefits to a trademark owner. A trademark can be registered either before or after it has been used.
Whether or not a trademark has been registered, trademark infringement occurs when a person uses another’s trademark in a way that creates a likelihood of confusion as to which party is the true source of the good or service associated with the mark. An attorney with experience in trademark issues may be valuable in determining the merits of an accusation of trademark infringement.
To discuss ways you can strengthen and protect your trademark contact Kelly G. Swartz to schedule a consultation.