Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including Tennessee.
The Need for Trademarks
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or other symbol that distinguishes one company’s goods from those of another. For example, if a nursery school begins operating under the name ‘Happy Days’ and the Happy Days toy store currently operates under that same name, the toy store will be unable to stop use of that trademark.
The only way to make sure that “your” trademark is protected is to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering a mark can actually protect it for all of the United States and lets other people know who has applied for registration.
Equal Protection Under Federal U.S. 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 someone might use a logo. Trademarking is important because it prevents others from using your trademark without your consent by giving you greater grounds to file a lawsuit against them.
A federal trademark registration is important for two reasons; the first of which being that a federally registered trademark is more likely to win a case against an infringer and secondly, it means you can take your infringer to federal court where damages are increased and remedies have more urgency.
You are given constructive notice when registering a trademark with the USPTO’s Principal Register. Users of marks are expected to search the Principal Register before using the mark, which prevents unintentional infringement from occurring
The Importance of Using a Trademark Attorney
The trademark process can be complicated and confusing, especially for new business owners. Your trademark attorney will guide you through the process of filing for trademarks, services, and domain names. They will also conduct a thorough search to make sure your company’s name does not conflict with that of any other similar companies.
We recommend against clients trying to secure a trademark on their own. There are many online automated services that allow you to apply for a trademark without legal counsel, which we kind of love because the process is awful and attracts more business to us.
Every project is well-planned, ensuring you get the desired results every time. We can advise you on how to best position your application or whether you should apply for a trademark at all. In some cases, not applying is better if your mark is already registered by somebody else.
What is the Difference Between Copyright and Trademark
Trademarks protect an individual company’s identity by, for example, preventing other companies from using their name in advertisements, or being mistaken for a different company. A trademark is mainly used to advertise a product, so that a customer is sure who they want to buy the product from.
Copyright is a protection for authors and artists, which means that no one can use the work of another author or artist. Copyright exists whether registered or not, but additional protections come with registering. It’s important to know the difference between trademarks and copyrights so that your company’s intellectual property rights are adequately protected.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Knoxville, Tennessee
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 Powell, or driving on Interstate 40, 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 Knoxville, 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 Knoxville and Maryville, like the Knoxville Ice Bears and the Tennessee Smokies. 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.