Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including Wisconsin.
Why You Need to Register Trademarks When You Start Your Business
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or symbol that a company uses to distinguish their goods from those of competitors. If nobody has a per se exclusive right to a mark, someone else can also use it. For instance, if someone creates the Happy Days nursery and starts using it for their business, the Happy Days toy store can’t stop them.
A company can register a mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in order to exclusively exploit it and prevent others from using it. On doing this, they get protection for their mark in all of the United States.
What are the benefits of filing for a federal trademark with the U.S. government?
Trademarks are legal identifiers that indicate that the product or service comes from the trademark’s owner. They’re most commonly used in products with a logo, though they may be found on virtually any type of product. Trademarking is important because it prevents other companies from using them without your consent.
Having a federal trademark registration is important for two reasons. First, it’s easier to win intellectual property cases if you have federal trademarks instead of only state trademarks (or common law trademarks). You can also file an IP infringement in a Federal Court, which means that you could get additional damages awarded to you and higher remedies.
Copying someone else’s trademark is actionable even if the user did not know they were infringing on your trademark. The best method of preventing other users from copy-botting your intellectual property is to register a trademark and provide constructive notice to others who may be using it unknowingly.
Top Reasons to Hire a Trademark Attorney
You should hire a trademark attorney to ensure your trademark is legally protected. However, the process of registration can be complex, so it’s not always easy for people to understand. A trademark lawyer will help guide you through the registration process from start to finish and will warn you if there are any similar trademarks that might create conflicts.
We would recommend against clients trying to secure a trademark without consulting legal counsel. There are many automatic online services that can walk people through the process without legal advice.
If you are considering applying for a trademark and have questions about whether to apply or not, give our office a call.
How Trademark and Copyright Differ
Trademarks are used protect a company’s identity, like their name or the product they’re selling. Trademarks also serve as proof that someone should purchase from this company if they’re looking for a specific product.
Copyrights protect an author or artist from a third party using their work. However, copyrights don’t have the same protections as trademarks. Copyrights exist whether registered or not, but more protections come with registering them. Knowing the difference between trademarks and copyrights is important because it safeguards your company’s intellectual property rights.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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 Elm Grove, or driving on Interstate 43, 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 Milwaukee, 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 Milwaukee and Merton, like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Milwaukee Brewers. 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.