Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including South Carolina.
What Trademarks Do
If a company does not have a trademark that is in use, it will be unable to stop their competitor from using it. For instance, if someone creates the name “Happy Days” for a nursery school and starts using it for their businesses, the owner of the Happy Days toy store cannot stop them from doing so.
In order to protect their trademark, they may need to register with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Registration with the USPTO protects a trademark in the United States and alerts potential consumers to our ownership.
Factors to Consider When Creating Trademarks
Trademarks, or service marks, are used to identify goods and services that come from a specific company. They are used in the same way that someone might use a logo. They provide you with greater grounds in doing litigation against someone encroaching on your trademark rights by providing you with grounds to sue them.
Using federal trademarks can help protect your company because it’s easier to sue for infringement with this type of trademark. You can also bring a lawsuit in a federal court that ensures you can get additional damages awarded to you and increased remedies.
The other benefit is that registering a trademark on the USPTO Principal Register gives others’ constructive notice of your trademark. Users of marks are expected to search the Principal Register before using the mark. Conducting such a search prevents unintentional infringement while still being actionable. This can avoid potential lawsuits from misuse of the mark by third parties.
Why Hiring a Trademark Attorney is Best
You should hire an attorney to ensure your trademark is legally protected. The process of trademark registration is detailed and complicated. An attorney can help guide you through the process from start to finish. They will complete any necessary application paperwork, conduct an extensive search for conflicting trademarks and offer their legal advice on how best to protect yours as much as possible.
We recommend that clients not start their own trademark application with the help of online services, which may present a slew of legal problems. Because these companies are setup to save bucks by doing less work and asking for thousands in up front fees, these services actually provide a lot of business for us before any legal issues arise.
We pride ourselves on not making a mess, and doing it right the first time.” With our help, you can avoid wasting time submitting your application to the wrong trademark office, by reaching out to our friendly team. Sometimes not applying is acceptable if someone else already owns the trademark.
Difference Between Trademark and Copyright
Trademarks are used to show customers that a company has the ownership of what they’re selling, while they can also be primarily used for advertising purposes. Trademarks serve as a way to help customers find a specific product.
Copyright is a form of protection for owners, it protects its right to use the work of another person or company. The owner can still sell or give this copyright away within certain limitations. There are differences between trademarks and copyrights that you should be aware of in order to educate your employees on how to defend their intellectual property rights.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Charleston, South Carolina
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 Johns Island, or driving on Interstate 526, 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 Charleston, 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 Charleston and West Ashley, like the Charleston Riverdogs and the Charleston Battery. 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.