Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including Michigan.
Why a Trademark is Important to Your Business
Trademarks are symbols such as words, phrases, logos, and symbols that distinguish one company’s goods from those of another. If a business does not have a trademark used in commerce it cannot 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.
In order to get exclusive rights to their trademark in commerce and prevent others from using it, they would need to register the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering a mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office generally protects a mark for the entire United States in the specific international class and related goods and services. It also puts others on notice that you are using the mark.
Federal U.S. Trademarks
Trademarks are important because they help you to identify goods and services specific to your brand. These function in the same way that a logo would, and is used to articulate with who it originates from.
A federal registration of a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office will make it easier to win lawsuits if someone else tries to infringe on your trademark, and you will also be able to sue in Federal court instead of state court.
When you register a trademark with the USPTO, they publicly make that trademark recognizable to other people. This prevents individuals from using it without realizing it’s already been claimed by someone else. Even if someone unwittingly uses the trademark, it is still considered an infringement of the person’s IP rights.
Why You Need A Trademark Attorney
The process of trademark registration can be complicated. You should hire a trademark attorney to help make sure your trademark is legally protected. They will take care of applying for your trademark, as well as conducting an extensive search for any other similar trademarks for you.
We almost always recommend our clients to get legal counsel when it comes to securing a trademark. We know that there are many services that provide tools for securing a trademark without the advice of legal counsel and can sometimes create even bigger problems than not securing one. These services drive business our way to clean up the mess they have created.
If you’re applying for a trademark, reach out to our office to get advice. We can also advise if you don’t apply for a trademark if your mark is already registered by somebody else.
Trademark vs Copyright
Trademarking is when a company uses their trademark to show the customer that they own what they are selling, which is typically their product name or company name. Trademarking also helps the customer find what they want by advertising who has the product they want.
Copyrights will protect the artists, making sure their work is protected and they can create it without liability. Copyrights exist whether or not they’re registered, but there are additional protections when the creator registers it.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Grand Rapids, Michigan
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 Forest Hills, or driving on Interstate 196, 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 East Grand Rapids, 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 Grand Rapids and Grandville, like the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Grand Rapids Gold. 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.