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How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

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How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

Learning the legalities of running a business means introducing yourself to many rules, practices and terms that can be confusing.

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Today, we’re going to highlight a legal issue that affects many business owners: trademarks. What is a trademark, what parts of your business can you trademark, and when should you consider registering a trademark to protect your business?

We spoke with Christina Scalera, legal expert and founder of The Contract Shop, which sells contract templates for creatives and entrepreneurs. Her experience includes growing her own brand and working with clients to build and protect their brands.

A trademark is a source identifier. Anything that identifies a product or brand as different from others on the market can be considered a moniker. It can include a unique combination of letters, sounds, symbols or designs.

One thing Christina made clear is that while you can register names, they only need to be descriptive. For example, she says, consider Key Smart® keychains.

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“You couldn’t just register ‘key fob’, but Key Smart Inc. has a trademark for ‘Key Smart’. So when they talk about their product, it’s Key Smart®. fobs,” she says. Johnson & Johnson is another example. “They sell Band-Aid® bandages. A trademark is always a source identifier and can be followed by a category or generic product name. Band-Aid® is the trademark, the bandages are the product.”

Which parts of a product name you can trademark apply to the name of anything your business sells, including digital products and services. Trademarks for services are often referred to as service marks.

“For my courses, I can’t register ‘Wedding Photographer Contract’ because it’s totally descriptive, but I can register Legalize Your Biz™, a legal course for online entrepreneurs,” says Christina. Is.” “It’s a good trademark because it’s a single sentence, and it’s not.

How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

It’s also important to note that trademarks and domain names are separate. With domain names, you can register it once and it’s yours. Trademarks need to be used and actively protected. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” says Christina.

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When starting a small business or developing a product, you will likely have a few monikers, including your business name and logo. The question is, do you need to think about trademarks now?

There are two ways to get a trademark registered, and one is more formal (and complicated) than the other. You can obtain a trademark informally using a name or logo and establish your reputation and brand as such (often referred to as an unregistered or common law trademark).

This provides some legal protection when you’re just starting out, but Christina recommends that you consider trademark registration when your business grows rapidly.

You can do part of this work yourself by following the tips we describe below. However, to get a definitive answer about your ability to use a particular trademark, it’s always best to consult a trademark attorney.

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First, when you have a unique idea for a name for your brand or product, it’s a good time to see if they’ve already been trademarked as part of your competitive analysis. You can do this by researching your potential trademark using online databases maintained by the governments of the countries in which you do business; so start in your country.

Here is a short list of databases you might want to check out, and remember to check the databases for each country you do business in:

“When searching for your brand term, use quotes to get an exact match, and search for each term within the phrase if there are more than one,” says Christina. 🇧🇷 The quotes will ensure you get exact matches for your search so you don’t miss out on a mass of irrelevant results.

How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

Even if results appear for your chosen trademark terms, that doesn’t mean they are out of the question right away. In the United States, trademarks are based on usage, so if it’s not being used, even if it’s registered, you can challenge the registration and protect your business name with the help of a trademark attorney.

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Christina recommends doing more research if you find a term you want to register. For example, someone may have registered a trademark but went bankrupt, and given that US trademarks are based on usage, this could indicate that the trademark is available.

If you’re finding it’s a term, phrase or name that no one else is using, that’s a good indicator that it may be available and that you should be next in line to register your trademark. Ready to act.

After searching the database, Christina suggests Google as the next step. “Go to Google and search for exactly that to see what comes up,” she says. “If you search a trademark database for results, you know you’ll find results on Google, but you want to see how many and how active they are. Ideally, even if you get some results, you want to see if there’s been any activity on those sites.”

Finally, be sure to search social media to see if there’s any activity using the trademark you’re considering – tools like Namechk reveal social profiles using the name you want. If you don’t find anything recent, that’s another promising sign.

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“If you’re seeing a term, phrase or name that nobody else is using, that’s a good indicator that it might be available and that you should trademark it,” says Christina. ”, says Christina.

If you decide you’re ready to formally register a trademark, Christina recommends contacting someone who can provide legal advice specific to your business. Before investing the time and resources to apply for trademark registration, consider working with them to learn more about what’s out there.

“Only a licensed attorney can give you definitive advice and say ‘yeah, go out there and use your trademark and we’ll register it,'” says Christina. The process of registering your trademark can be quite technical and complicated, which is why it qualifies as something that is best outsourced to an expert.

How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

Please note that the trademark application process varies from country to country. Seek advice from a professional who understands the needs of your specific area.

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Ensuring trademark protection means you will need to consistently use the appropriate trademark indicators and take action when you see someone infringing your trademark.

You’ve probably seen them around, but it’s easy to overlook these trademark symbols unless you want to use them for yourself. Christina shares a breakdown of what each one means and when to use it:

Protecting your trademarks is about more than properly branding them. You also need to be aware of people copying or using your trademark or similar marks in your industry – in trademark law, your trademark Failure to take protective measures can result in the loss of your trademark due to a concept called dilution .

“If someone uses a trademark with a product or brand that you own, or comes up with something that’s really similar and in your industry, that’s a critical time,” says Christina, to talk to a lawyer,” says Christina. “For my clients, I will always inform other companies that this is a registered trademark and they cannot use it because it diminishes the value of my client’s brand.”

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Protecting your trademark is a big deal, and it really bugs me when people don’t take action for infringement. By not taking action, you actually risk missing the mark.

Losing your trademark is when you can no longer claim that the original trademark, be it your logo or product name, is a source identifier. This is because if everyone in the industry is using the same name then it will not identify something that is uniquely yours. After all the work and money spent on getting a trademark registered, taking action against infringement is critical to protecting your brand and your investment.

“Protecting your trademark is a big deal, and it really bothers me when people don’t comply,” says Christina. “You really run the risk of missing the mark if you don’t act. I always ask, ‘How much did it cost you, because I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.’ It’s like buying a first-class plane ticket and then not showing up for the flight.

How To Apply For A Registered Trademark

💡 Note: Defending your brand is something that should be left to the professionals, especially when it comes to fighting a pending registration application. Focus on what you do best – running your business and creating great products – and let the lawyers handle the details of protecting your numbers.

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There’s a lot.

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