Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including Iowa.
The Importance of Trademarks
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or other symbol that distinguishes one company’s goods from those of another. If a business does not have a trademark that is used in commerce, it can’t have exclusive rights to the mark and will be unable to stop competitors from using it. For example, 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.
If a business would like to protect its trademark in commerce, it must register the mark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Trademarks are registered in specific international classes and related goods and services. Registering a company’s trademark with the USPTO also tells others about your use of the name.
How a Federal Trademark Can Benefit You
A trademark is necessary for a company to protect their established brand name. Additionally, it provides a valuable tool for standing up against someone infringing on your established mark without permission.
It is important to have a federal trademark registration so that you can win against an infringer in court. There are additional remedies, such as damages and costs awarded to you in a federal case.
The other benefit is that registering a trademark on the USPTO Principal Register gives others’ constructive notice of your trademark. Searching for new and recent trademarks on the Principal Register before using it can prevent unintentional infringement. Unintentional infringement is still actionable infringement.
Why You Should Hire A Trademark Attorney
To protect your brand, you need to hire a trademark attorney. They will help guide you through the process of trademark registration and conduct an extensive search to ensure there is no existing confusion with your name or word.
Legal counsel generally recommend against individuals trying to trademark their own business, because online services can handle the entire application process without any advice. Furthermore, we see these applications result in a lot of work for us, so we appreciate them.
We pride ourselves on being helpful and providing user-friendly services. If you feel like not applying or your mark is already registered by somebody else, we are always happy to help you position your application.
What is Trademark vs. Copyright?
Trademarks help protect a brand’s identity by showing its ownership over the company’s product. They are mainly used for advertising purposes to help potential customers identify the specific brand for them.
Copyright gives an author or artist the right—nearly exclusive rights—to use their work without permission, but they still own it. When you register an intellectual property idea with a trademark this prevents others from using the same exact idea and receiving money in order to produce it.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Des Moines, Iowa
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 Pleasant Hill, or driving on Interstate 235, 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 Des Moines, 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 Des Moines and Lovington, like the Iowa Barnstormers and the Iowa Wolves. 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.