A trademark is any word, design, or symbol representing a company or its products. However, business is a vague industry. With millions of people operating businesses on small, medium, and large scales, there is always a risk that someone will use the exact representation for their business. This can be intentional or unintentional but can result in a heavy financial and moral loss for your company.
This guide covers the trademark basics so you know how you can protect your business from trademark infringement.
What Is Trademark?
A trademark is a company's claim over a particular word, design, phrase, symbol, or a combination of any or all of those things that might represent the brand. The representation can be of the company's name or the goods. This is to distinguish themselves and their products from other companies. An infamous example of a trademark is the golden arches of McDonald’s.
What Is a Service Mark?
A service mark is a company's claim over a particular word, design, phrase, symbol, or a combination of any or all of those things that might represent the brand. The only difference between a trademark and a service mark is that while a trademark distinguishes the company's brand name and product, a service mark distinguishes the brand's service from other companies.
What's the Difference Between a Patent, Trademark, and Copyright?
Many people confuse the patent, trademark, and copyright. Although the purpose of these services is similar, they are used to claim rights over separate things. If you ever wanted to copyright that patent on your trademark or patent that trademark on your copyright, you are not alone. Nevertheless, the concepts are simple and easy to understand.
Patents give you rights to your inventions, like a vacuum, engine, and solar panel. It can also include an upgrade to an existing product or service, such as an upgraded engine variation.
Copyright protects your right over a specific creative expression, such as a movie script, book, painting. It can also include technical expressions such as software code.
What Are the Common Trademark Laws?
The law doesn't require any company to register for a trademark. However, you can claim trademark infringement when you have registered your trademark. If neither party has registered, the first one to file for the registration generally has the right over the trademark.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Trademark?
The following are the benefits of using a trademark:
- Your trademark is registered across the federal registry. No one else can register for the same trademark.
- A trademark brings value to your business by establishing your authority in the market and giving your products a unique identity.
- You put in hard work and effort into building your company's designs, logo, and identity. Not registering the trademark can force you to change everything and start again.
- Most of all, it gives you the right to claim compensation if your trademark suffers infringement.
How and Where Do I Register for a Trademark?
The trademark owner can register at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office through their Trademark Electronic Application System. However, the process can be complicated, and any error, misunderstanding, or oversight can cause your company a significant loss. It is best to use a professional trademark registration service provider for an efficient and smooth process.
Local Trademark Services
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