Trademarks have been around for over a hundred years. First being created in France and then adopted by the United States in 1870, the trademark system provided business owners rights to their own business. Before trademarks, if a printing company became renowned for their printing quality, many other businesses might try to take the name to try and get customers to believe that they are the company with the best quality. This copy cat model is not good for business as it takes away business from the company that worked so hard to build it from the bottom up. Trademarks prevent this model from occurring. Below is what it means to trademark, should you trademark, and the benefits of trademarking a company.
A trademark in the United States is a legal acknowledgement of a company and that it is a distinct organization. This recognition gives the company protection from possible copycat companies from stealing intellectual property like the name, slogan, logo, or other aspects of the business. Trademarks promote a marketplace where businesses are encouraged to become their own entity which promotes diversity and allows companies to find their own niches rather than piggy backing off of other businesses’ fame. Another thing to note is that a service mark is the same as a trademark however a service mark is specific to companies that provide services rather than hard goods.
Should I Trademark?
If you are asking yourself “should I trademark my business”, the short answer is yes. Trademarking is not only a way to protect you but it is also a way to protect those that already have trademarks. When starting a business the name and logo are things that are very important. If you develop a clientele before you file for a trademark, you may discover that the name or logo is already taken by another company. This would force the new business to change its name and could cost customers. Filing for trademarks doesn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars and can ultimately save you a lot in the longrun from having to change name in the beginning or someone taking your name and using it as there own therefore taking customers.
Benefits of Trademarking
There are many benefits to trademarking a business name, logo, or phrase. One key benefit that is often overlooked is the professionalism it ads to the company. When customers and other businesses see a trademark on a business they perceive the business as a more established and therefore more trustworthy company to do business with. Another benefit of trademarking a business is that you are a recognized business nationally and are added to the national trademark database. This allows you to have a nationally recognized trademark. With this you are able to create an online presence without fear that someone will have the same name, logo, or slogan as you. A large benefit of trademarking is that you are ensuring no companies try to piggyback on your successes and use your name to increase their customers. If this happens with you having a trademark you are protected and are able to pursue the company legally for infringing on your trademark.
Overall any business that is larger than a startup should get a trademark as soon as possible. It is a great check to ensure the name of the business is not taken and will protect the company as it continues to grow. Don’t let others steal the hard word that has gone into building a company up and ensure you get the company logo, name, and slogan trademarked as soon as possible. In addition, give your business the national recognition and appearance of professionalism by adding the trademark symbol to your name, logo, and slogans.