Guest contributor Andrew Thompson explains the importance of trademarks for establishing and protecting your business’s brand identity.
A trademark is simply a symbol, word, or phrase that distinguishes and identifies the source of goods of a specific business entity. The name “Nike”, its renowned “swoosh” logo, and phrases like “Just Do It” can be trademarks. A service mark simply distinguishes a particular service rather than a product.
Whether you ultimately register your trademark or not, you can acquire trademark rights through the consistent use of a mark. As you build “brand” identity and loyalty, you may naturally acquire these rights. Protecting them is a different matter, however. Just as it is always wise to record a deed on real property you own, it’s often wise to register your trademark through the United States Patent Office. There are fees for registration, generally $250-500. You pay these fees to give public notice of your claim to exclusive rights in use of your trademark.
A trademark “search” can identify other users and/or claims on the trademark you own or are seeking to register.
Does your business need a trademark? Absolutely – and it may already be in process, perhaps even without you knowing it. It’s a good idea to use the Rocket Lawyer Trademark Worksheet and consult with an attorney specializing in intellectual protection as you plan and execute the process of building your own brand.
Andrew Thompson practices law in Indianapolis, Indiana, and can help you with your business’ trademarks and intellectual property needs. You can also find an intellectual property lawyer in your area wtih RocketLawyer.com.