Is there a registered trademark of your company? Need? For small community businesses or new start-ups, the idea of registering an e-commerce store trademark may not be at the top of the priority list. Making it a higher priority can be a healthy business investment.
If you're starting a business, especially if you're starting a strong growth-oriented startup or e-commerce business, doing a trademark search for your business and a unique product name can be quite time-consuming. After a year of a fast-growing business, you don't want to know that you're infringing on someone else's trademark.
There are some conditions and nuances when registering a trademark for your business. This post describes the basic trademark concepts, trademark benefits, options for registering a trademark, procedures related to trademark registration, and additional resources for more information. There are many more things to consider when registering a trademark.
What is a registered trademark? As per the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
"Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols, and/or designs that identify the origin of one party's goods and distinguish them from others. The Trademark is Words, phrases, symbols, and/or designs that identify and distinguish the source of a service rather than a product. Some examples are brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks”.
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"Unlike patents and copyrights, a trademark does not expire after a certain number of years. A trademark right arises from its actual "use". Therefore, a trademark may last forever as long as you continue to use it in commerce to indicate the source of the goods or services. Trademark registration can also take forever, as long as you submit certain documents and pay a fee on a regular basis. "
Trademarks are marked as Trademark – ™ or Registered Trademark ®. These symbols can be used in retail stores, corporate websites, product packaging on online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay), branding, promotions, and marketing materials. The USPTO specifies how and how often to use the mark.
Registered Trademark and the USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a lot of information about trademarks and registered trademarks. It's a good idea to start here: USPTO Trademark Basics. The USPTO also has a series of informative videos with a wide range of trademark information. Check them the first time you use a registered trademark.
Forty years ago, the e-commerce business wasn't a problem. Local retailers did not face the same challenges as domestic or international companies and brands. Like many other areas, the Internet has changed that.
In the rapidly growing and changing world of online commerce, registered trademarks can provide great benefits and protection to your business. There are several reasons why an e-commerce business needs more than one brand.
Protecting Your Business
US registered trademarks can protect your business name and other marks from the use by others. You can also protect your unique product name and logo. Companies with registered trademarks take explicit legal remedies against anyone who uses or infringes the registered trademark.
Trademark Damage Protection
Trademarks can protect your brand from damage and counterfeiting. In the online world, you can protect your brand nationally or internationally from using, copying, or counterfeiting your products. Other companies that use the brand without permission can cause significant damage to the brand, lose sales, and adversely affect the perception of the product or business. Counterfeiting is a form of theft.
Protection on E-Commerce Marketplace
Some e-commerce marketplace platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, offer additional options to companies with registered trademarks. A good example of this is the Amazon brand registration program. This is a free program that requires a company to have a registered trademark in order to participate. Brand registration provides Amazon sellers, who are part of the program, with many additional marketing opportunities, anti-counterfeiting, and analytical data.
Intellectual Property Protection and Value
Company names, logos, slogans, product names, domain names, and social media profiles are in the form of intellectual property (IP). Protecting this intellectual property is a wise strategy, especially in startups, e-commerce and entrepreneurship. In many business cases, intellectual property adds value to the company. Registered trademarks can also add value to your business when they are sold or acquired.
Registered trademarks of businesses, especially start-ups and fast-growing e-commerce companies, can convey authority, longevity, and even strength when used regularly and effectively.
A registered trademark can be obtained in one of three methods. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Your budget, like with many things, maybe a crucial consideration. Here's a quick look of the options:
· Please fill out the registration application form yourself: Avoid upfront costs for professional services or attorneys by conducting research, conducting comprehensive trademark searches, filling out and submitting all forms, and handling all communications with the USPTO. This option gives you access to a variety of online information, resources, and research tools. It takes a lengthy time compared to the other possibilities.
· Hire online legal services: Such as Legal Zoom, My Corporation, and Rocket-Lawyer. There are several other offers online. Generally, these services carry out trademark searches, investigate what is protected as a trademark, and prepare and submit an application to the USPTO. The final cost may be affected by the validity of the trademark search and any issues encountered during the application.
· Hire a lawyer or law firm to provide trademark services: Lawyers are probably the most expensive, but they also handle all aspects of the trademark registration process, including responding to USPTO contacts during the process. If done by a lawyer, the scope of the trademark search may be expanded. Another potential benefit of working with a lawyer is that they will notify you when it's time to renew your brand. USPTO does not do this.
Each trademark registration option has advantages and disadvantages, such as cost, the time required, and the possibility of errors and delays. There could also be challenges or queries that are exclusive to a particular industry or area. Your best bet could be to look into all three of these options to see which one best suits your needs and requirements.
Important Steps in Obtaining a Trademark Registration
If you don't have a trademark, want to protect your company name, or aren't considering registering your trademark in your business, now's a good time to investigate the problem. There are many online resources, business consultants, and lawyers to help you.
If you are ready to start a new business or business, consider the registered trademark seriously. Before investing a lot of time and money to build your business and brand name, make sure someone else hasn't used it yet and you can register a trademark for that name. Then register it before anyone else registers.
The process and procedure for acquiring a registered trademark depend on what is protected as a trademark and the details of the company and brand. As in many cases, this process is not a panacea and can be complicated by search results and trademark registrations.
A company's trademark ownership and protection may be a significant asset. Your trademarks will appreciate in value as the worth of your firm rises.
One thing became evident while writing this article: while registering a trademark, make sure you have competent guidance. There are plenty of excellent free or low-cost options accessible. However, the procedure is not as straightforward as it appears. Professional assistance with the registration procedure might be a wise investment.
At the very least, register a trademark for your company name if you have the funds. Simply conducting a trademark search can provide useful information and ensure that no one else has filed a trademark for your company name.
Important Note: This article is not intended to provide legal advice in any way. Contact a legal firm or an attorney for professional trademark assistance. When you register your business with your state or incorporate your company, you do not acquire a nationally registered trademark. The USPTO has its own process for obtaining a registered trademark.