Friday, September 7, 2012

Protecting Your Brand -Trademark Registration

When it comes to branding your business, your trademark should be at the center of the discussion. A trademark or service mark can be a word, a logo, a slogan, a color and even a sound. And making sure your trademark is registered is of primary importance to ensure that you retain full rights in your name, slogan, logo, etc. Protecting your trademark, protects your business.

Broad Spectrum Registration
While many people understand the importance of trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for their business, most forget that the trademark or service mark (“Mark”) should be registered for all uses of the mark. In other words, if you have a registered Mark for restaurant services, but not for clothing and apparel, arguably, those shirts you are selling with your logo are not protected; anyone can use your trademark on clothing and apparel or any other use that is not a restaurant service. Multiple registrations for different classes of goods helps protect your valuable Mark. (A good example of this is McDonald’s mark in “I’m Lovin’ It®”. They have registration of this in 4 classes of goods).

Use it or Lose it
You need to be actively protecting your Mark and using your Mark. If you have a registered Mark that you stop using, you will lose your rights. The same goes for not protecting your rights –if you don’t try to stop infringing users, you may lose your rights to stop that user from infringing on your Mark. Regular searches on search engines such as Google and Bing, as well as looking at the USPTO registry, and on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter can help alert you to those users who are infringing on your Mark.