Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including Washington.
Legal Aspects of Trademarks
If a business uses their trademark in commerce, they can distinguish themselves from competitors by preventing them from using the same trademark. For example, if someone creates the name “Happy Days” for a nursery school and starts using it for their businesses, they cannot stop the Happy Days toy store from using the same identity.
To protect an existing trademark, one would need to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering a trademark usually protects the specific international class and related goods and services. Additionally, registering a trademark alerts others that you are using it.
The Benefits of Trademarks
Trademarks let you show that your company is the one selling a certain product or providing a certain service. Trademarks are very important because they help you control what other companies can do with the trademark. If someone has used your trademark and you filed for infringement, you would have a stronger case against them than if you hadn’t trademarked it.
Generally, federal trademarks offer two benefits: they make it easier to win cases against infringments, as they give you a higher ranking in court, and they offer you the ability to file cases in federal courts.
The other benefit of registering a trademark on the USPTO Principal Register is that others are notified of your trademark through constructive notice. Conducting a search like this can prevent unintentional infringement and it is still actionable if someone unintentionally uses your trademark.
Why you Should Hire a Specialist to Protect Your Brand
You should hire a trademark attorney to make sure your trademark is legally protected. The process of trademark registration can be complicated, and it is important that any name you choose does not conflict with registered trademarks. They will help guide you through the application process making sure there are no surprises.
We almost always suggest that our clients hire an attorney to handle trademark registration. Online services can walk folks through the process without any legal counsel, and that’s a problem.
One way we help is by helping you not make a mistake. Getting legal advice on how to best position your trademark application or not even applying for one if somebody else has already registered one is one of the ways we help.
What’s the Difference Between Trademark and Copyright?
Trademarks are used to show the customer that a company has ownership over what they are selling, like the company’s name or the product’s name. Trademarks are also mainly used for advertising purposes, so someone will know for whom to go if he wants that specific product.
Having a copyright means that you are protected from others using your original content, but a copyright also exists for any work whether it is signed or not. Having registered copyrights offers more protections in terms of your company’s IP rights. The difference between copyrights and trademarks are important to understand so that you can make sure that the appropriate measures are taken to protect your company
Examples of Trademark Needs in Bellevue, Washington
A lot of people ask us, “Why do I need a trademark for my business?” And the simple answer to that is your businesses name, logo, and branding are inherently valuable. You want to ensure that you’ve protected your business as your brand’s value grows and continues to appreciate over time. For example, if you’re in Lakemont or driving on Interstate 405, you’ve probably seen tons of billboards for corporations and mom-and-pop shops alike. And they’ve all got a certain feel to them, their branding. And that branding is valuable. You want to make sure that if you start a shop in Eastgate, that somebody two states over isn’t going to steal your idea and name and do the same business.
A great example I love to use is professional sports teams. Their need to have a protected brand name, logo, slogan, and such is invaluable because so much of their team’s value is wrapped up in their identity. There are lots of sports teams, but for fans, there’s always “my team”. Think about the teams near Bellevue and Newport Hills, like the Seattle Dragons and the Bellevue Blackhawks. You can probably picture their logo in your mind, and you know that nobody else is using their names and logos to promote a professional sports team.