Your trademark can be an integral part of your business. They symbolize the business’ role in the marketplace over the years. A good trademark can put a real and lasting impression on your clients. Applied and used correctly, a trademark can last indefinitely, but if it is abandoned it can lose its practical value and diminishes its protection under the law. The attorneys a Goldfinch Winslow can help register and maintain your trademark for the years to come. We’d like to provide you with some great general tips on how to protect your trademark.
1.) Choose a Strong Mark
When you launch a new business, service or product, pick a mark with the strongest possible legal status. Generic terms are not protectable by trademark. Names that are descriptive are potentially trademarkable, but are weak. You’d have a hard time defending them in court from a competitor who came up with a similar name.
Experts say you’ll get stronger protection with “suggestive” names, ones that indirectly and creatively convey the unique nature of your business.
The Key to choosing a good trademark is making sure that no one else is already using it. You can do a quick and easy search of registered trademarks on the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But that won’t show you common-law trademarks – businesses with the legal right to a name because they were the first to use it, even though they may never have registered it.
2.) Use It or Lose It
Once you’ve got a trademark – either through common-law use or registration – you need to protect it by using it.
You don’t need to include that little TM or R every single time you mention your company’s name. But you need to display it a lot, particularly in prominent places. “Put it wherever you have a big display. “The basic idea is that someone should see it if they’re reading an ad or a body of copy for your business. It’s to alert the public to what is your registered mark.”
3.) Conduct Simple Searches
Protecting a trademark is best left to lawyers and professional services, but the least a business can do on its end is to routinely check the search engines—any Bing or Google will do—to confirm no one else is misusing the name.
Google also offers Google Alerts, a free notification system for alerting any time your mark appears on the news or web. However, Google Alerts should not be used exclusively.
Google Alerts are probably not going to tell you what’s happening on the trademark registers, and not necessarily what’s going on with domain names out there. If and when a red flag appears, rather than jump the gun and immediately contact the infringing business, experts maintain that Google Alerts should only be used to give an idea of the activity surrounding the mark out there.
It’s hard for most businesses to keep up with all things involving their trademarks. It’s even harder to know exactly what to do to protect and enforce your business’ trademark. That’s why Goldfinch Winslow is here with years of experience to handle all the complicated trademark ins and outs for your business. Contact our Attorneys today to protect your trademark for your business.