Using Trademarks to Protect Your Great Ideas
Welcome to Protecting Your Great Idea With Trademarks
I am Nancy Flint and I regularly work with my clients to select and protect their trademarks.
A trademark is something that indicates to the public that you are the source of your goods or services.
Trademarks protect consumers from buying from one person thinking they are buying from another person, because the goods and trademarks are so similar. When a consumer sees your brand, you want them to know that good or service comes from you.
For example, when you see Google or Apple, you expect a certain type and quality of product or service.
For that reason, you have an interest in making sure that someone does not offer an inferior product or service using a trademark similar to yours, because people may believe it is YOUR product or service that is poor quality.
You don’t have to register your trademark to have enforceable “common law” rights. You get common law rights just be using your trademark to brand your goods and services.
But common law rights are difficult to enforce because they are only valid in the geographic areas that you can prove in a court of law that consumers associate your brand with your goods or services. That can be an expensive proposition.
Registration gives you extra benefits in addition to your common law rights. You can register with the states and with the Federal government.
If you aren’t using your trademark yet but you want to reserve rights in it, you can only do that by filing an “intent to use” application with the USPTO.
Since trademarks do not have to be registered to be enforceable, don’t assume your trademark is not being used by anyone else because you don’t see it in the USPTO database.
All countries do not recognize common law rights so be sure to check if you are selling in other countries to see if you must register to have enforceable rights.
Trademark infringement does not require trademarks to be identical, only similar, and they must be used on similar or related goods or services.
To make the most of your trademark rights, make sure you select a strong trademark; conduct a search to see if there is anything similar already registered; and file in a timely manner.
Contact me for a free consultation on selecting and protecting your trademark.