Things such as a symbol, word or phrase, or a design may differentiate your goods or services from others on the market. Think, for example, of the Nike Swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches. Should competitors use the same or similar markings, it might have effects such as confusing consumers or damaging your business reputation.
To protect this type of intellectual property, you may consider filing for a trademark. Registering trademarks provides several benefits.
Presumption of ownership
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, registering a trademark creates a legal presumption of ownership. Therefore, this will often reduce the evidence needed to support a claim of infringement. You may choose to file an infringement claim if someone else uses your trademark without your permission.
Without registering your trademark, the court will generally only enforce it within a specific geographic area in which you use it in commerce.
Some intellectual property protections expire after a given amount of time. Provided you meet the necessary criteria, however, you will continue to have trademark protection. Among other possible requirements, you will need to give the USPTO evidence of your continued use of the symbol, pay the applicable fees and continue to use the trademark in commerce.
The use of your trademark by another person or company may impact your operations, as well as the longevity and success of your business. Working with an intellectual property attorney may help you establish the appropriate safeguards and enforce your rights should the need arise.