What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is any recognizable symbol, word, phrase, sign, logo, or a combination that identifies the source of the goods of one company from those of competitors. In other words, a trademark is what makes your customers recognize your goods among competitors. Trademarks are used for a company’s distinguishable goods, while service marks are used for the company’s services.
What Can Be Trademarked?
Any word, name, phrase, slogan, symbol, design, logo, color, sound, or another distinguishable element can be trademarked. Essentially, you can trademark anything that distinguishes your goods from the goods of other companies. Anything you trademark lets your customers easily identify your goods among the same or similar goods offered by your competitors. To protect your intellectual property, consider working with an experienced trademark attorney.
What Protections Does a Trademark Allow?
Once your trademark application is approved, you – as the owner of the trademark – will have exclusive rights to the trademark at both the state and federal levels. Having exclusive rights to a trademark means that no one else across the United States can use your trademark to sell their goods or services.
Competitors could knowingly use your trademark for their gain, which is why you might want to register your trademark with the USPTO. A trademark gives you the ability to litigate trademark infringement in state and federal courts. Having trademark rights also increases the value of your business.
What Are The Benefits of Registering a Trademark?
Registering a trademark helps ensure that your competitors will not use a similar trademark to confuse and divert your customers. Having a registered trademark gives your business exclusive rights that can last indefinitely as long as you continue using the trademark regularly to identify your goods or services.
If you register a trademark, your exclusive rights allow you to bring legal action against anyone who infringes upon your trademark rights. Once your trademark is registered, you can record it with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent others from importing counterfeit goods into the country.
Ultimately, the greatest benefit to registering a trademark is that your hard-won ideas—and the future of your business—will be protected.