Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including North Carolina.
The Importance of Trademarks
A trademark is an exclusive word or phrase assigned to a particular company. When someone starts using the same words or symbols as your company on their own products, you will be unable to stop them from doing so without a legal battle. For example, if you started a store that sells toys called Happy Days but someone else comes up with the idea for a nursery school and calls it Happy Days, then the owner of that nursery school cannot stop you from marketing your business under the name Happy Days.
In order to prevent others from using their trademark, the company would need to file for an exclusive trademark. When a mark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it’s protected not just in the United States, but anywhere that international classes are used around the world. Adding this to the notice of use creates a greater level of protection and ensures others are aware of their rights.
How to Trademark your Brand
Trademarks are symbols used to identify goods and services. They’re just like a logo, because trademarks give you greater grounds for filing lawsuits when someone copies your trademark without your consent.
A federal trademark protection is important for two reasons. First, it’s easier to win a case against infringers if you have a federal trademark instead of only state trademarks (or only common law trademarks). Second, you can sue for damages in a federal court instead of state court, which means you can get additional damages awarded to you and increased remedies.
The other benefit of registering a trademark on the USPTO Principal Register is that they give others notice of your trademark. People using marks who conduct an appropriate search are avoiding infringing on your mark. Although unintentional infringement is still actionable infringement, conducting a search beforehand prevents it.
Get a Trademark Attorney and Avoid Risk
You should hire a trademark lawyer to help you both start and end the process of registering your mark by completing the application for you. They will check to make sure that the name doesn’t conflict with any similar marks and conduct a thorough search for any other trademarks with this or a similar name.
We almost always recommend against our clients trying to secure a trademark on their own. There are many, many automated online services that walk folks through the trademark application process without the advice of legal counsel. And, honestly, we kind of love these services because the services are awful and drive a lot of business our way to clean up the mess.
We’re not going to make a mess and will help you avoid creating anything similar in the future. Even if your mark is already registered by somebody else, we’re here to help you in anyway possible. Reach out to our office for advice on how best positioning your application or not even applying for a trademark at all.
Are trademark and copyright similar?
Trademarks are legal protections used primarily to protect a company’s brand and name. The main purpose of use is to show consumers that the company has control over their products. Trademarks are also often used to advertise products, so someone knowing the logo can find out more information about them.
A copyright is a protection for an author or artist that no one can use their work without permission, but the creator still owns it. Creators of intellectual property rights are required to register for a copyright in order to have additional protections. A trademark, as opposed to a copyright, allows consumers to buy your product even before you actually create it. It’s important to know the difference between trademarks and copyrights so your company’s intellectual property rights are adequately protected.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Durham, North 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 Joyland, or driving on Interstate 85, 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 Durham, 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 Durham and Blackwood, like the Raleigh Rebels. 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.