If you are a business owner or want to become one, then it is vital for you to understand the benefits of trademark registration. Why? Because running a business involves more than making money – it also involves building a brand, which is considerably harder to do, and it should be, as it plays a major role in the overall success of any business. When it comes to building your brand, your trademarks are your most valuable assets, so you should take steps to protect them legally, and the best way to protect a trademark is to register it with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). While this is not a legal requirement, I firmly believe it should be, as it is the only way to effectively protect a trademark in the United States.
The Benefits of Trademark Registration
Protection throughout the United States
When you create a trademark and begin using it in commerce, you automatically obtain certain rights over it, even if you do not register it. However, these rights are very limited. One of the biggest limitations is the fact that the law will only protect your mark within a certain geographic area, which will make protecting your mark throughout the rest of the country extremely difficult – not to say nearly impossible. This is why you should seriously consider registering all your trademarks with the USPTO. When you successfully register a trademark, you gain protection throughout the entire country, which can be a huge advantage if you plan to do business in other states in the future.
You are publicly recognized as the owner of your marks
Another one of the main benefits of trademark registration is the fact that the USPTO will make your registered trademarks available to the public, which will allow people to know that your marks are: 1) in use, 2) federally registered, 3) owned by you, and 4) not available. Because of this, any “good faith” defense by any potential trademark infringer will not be valid.
Litigation is a lot easier
The Lanham Act is the primary law governing trademarks throughout the United States. Under this act, the owner of a registered trademark obtains certain rights that make both preventing and stopping infringement a lot easier and far less expensive. For example, if a mark is registered, it counts as evidence of its validity, which means that any accused infringer will have the burden of proving the infringement did not really occur. Shifting the burden of proof in this manner makes enforcing trademark rights considerably more cost-effective for brand owners.
Additional set of rights after 5 years of continuous use
After continuously using a registered trademark in commerce for 5 years, its owner becomes eligible to convert the status of the mark to “incontestable,” gaining a series of additional rights. In essence, once a mark becomes incontestable, anyone who calls its validity into question will have a very hard time backing up their claims. For a brand owner, this is a huge advantage. Building a brand is difficult but not nearly as difficult as protecting it once you have built it, which is why obtaining every single one of the trademark rights available should be one of your primary objectives as a brand owner.
Do You Need Help Registering a Trademark? Contact Me Today!
Now that you know a little more about the benefits of trademark registration, it is time to talk about the drawbacks. Essentially, there is only one major disadvantage, and that is the fact that registering a trademark with the USPTO is not easy. When you apply for trademark registration, you must meet several tricky requirements, which – in addition to the registration fees – are the main reason why so many business owners in Florida choose not to register their trademarks.
However, there is a way to turn the trademark registration process into a walk in the park: working with an experienced trademark lawyer. I can be that lawyer.