Planning to establish a company on your own? Cheers to that! You're probably thinking of a unique business name, a logo, and a tagline by now. You may have tons of plans for your business, and you're so excited to start all of those.
But even if you're excited with the thought of finally owning a business yourself, don't fall into the trap of infringing another company's trademark. In the United States, trademark infringement is a top priority for a certain agency called the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also known as USPTO.
A brand may be in any form such as a company's name, design, logo design, color combination, or tagline. It may be a particular business's name like Starbucks or something that may distinguish a particular product like Sprite from its competitors.
For you to make sure you will not be in trouble by infringing a trademark, it is important to do the following steps:
● Conduct an intensive research to ensure the brand you're planning to use is something that has never been utilized by a particular business.
● Register your chosen trademark for you to prevent other companies from back riding in your business' success and even to avoid business damage in the future.
You may sell some stuff or sell your services. Either of the two, you would surely want your branding strategy to be something your clients will recognize and will be distinguishable from any other businesses out in the market today.
When your target market is already aware of your brand, it would be easy for you to have a sale as more buyers are more likely to use products that deliver results. Consumers are not interested in anything that is not from a favorite brand or something from a company they do not recognize.
Imagine this? What if a particular business is using the trademark you have for the same type or set of goods and services? Chances are consumers may buy their products and avail the services they are offering thinking they are yours, which is a tested brand.
It may also be like this: a consumer who bought from a competitor (who happens to infringe your trademark) had a horrifying experience previously. Either way, those scenarios can harm your business, right?
On the other hand, what if the one who uses the same brand had already used it long before you used it and worse has already registered it as theirs before you? That company can force you to end your right over that brand and may even sue you and make you pay for harm caused by infringement of brand. Now, that is a total nightmare, right?
As a result, you will start from the beginning and build your brand (basically, starting from the top) which includes changing your marketing strategy over your materials, the packaging of your product, even your posts on your social media sites, basically anything that associates with the infringement.
What's worse about this is you may incur penalties, and the original owner of the trademark may ask an enormous amount of money from you. These things will not only be a hassle on your end but could also cause you a huge problem when it comes to finances in paying all the damage. Worse, that could also be the reason why you'll need to close your company.
One mistake that is common nowadays is business owners think they're already clear when their state approves their request to build a corporation, a company with limited liability or register some false name. Sometimes, companies only realize this mistake when they already received a cease and desist letter.
Having a name formulated, registered, and approved by the state just means no one in your state uses that name. In addition to that, having a false name is just approved as no one in a particular region has the same business name as yours. It also wouldn't mean that others can no longer register the name you have chosen or anything similar to that.
For you to be safe of these business-damaging situations, you should conduct research about the following:
● Trademarks that your state or the federal government has proven registered and any other trademarks pending for approval.
● Brands that are currently in use but are not yet registered or those that haven't applied for federal registration yet but are trying to market or trying to sell products or services.
After you finish researching about this and you're already sure that you can still use the brand continuously, you should already apply for registration to have all the right over your trademark.
Also, this assures you no one can use your company name other than you. You may also file for a state or federal registration of a trademark, depending on where you're trying to sell goods and services.
Doing this long but important process will be beneficial for you to achieve your goal, which is for people to know and trust your brand.
Aside from that, it will also protect your business from any adverse effects of trademark infringement. It will also save you a significant amount of money when it comes to penalties that may result from a huge issue (of course, an infringement claim is something you wouldn't like your customers to know).
For you to be sure what steps to take, you may look for an experienced lawyer when it comes to trademark infringement for you to know your options.
Sharon Reyer is a researcher currently in Michigan. She is a researcher by profession, but apart from what her friends know, she also has a thing for writing. Sharon loves writing anything about culture, business, and law. Whenever she's free or during her leisure time, she writes articles about different random topics like a Dallas car accident lawyer, a pumpkin soup, and other random topic and she shares it with her online readers.