Examples of Trademark Needs in Washington, DC
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 Washington DC, or driving on Interstate 495, 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 Fredrick MD, 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 Reston VA and Rockville MD like the Washington Commanders and the Washington Nationals. 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.
The Importance of Trademarks
A trademark distinguishes one company’s goods from others. Unregistered trademarks, which aren’t used in commerce, can’t be exclusive and other businesses can use the mark. For example, if someone creates a name for a nursery school and starts using it for their business, the person who owns the Happy Days toy store can’t stop them from doing that too.
Exclusive rights to the trademark in commerce can be gained by registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Those who register their trademark are able to prevent others from using it, and more importantly, show any potential customers that they are using the mark. Registering one’s mark generally applies to the entire United States and a specific international class of goods or services.
Run Your Business with Confidence
Trademarks help identify items and services that come from a specific company. They are important because they prevent other people from using your trademark without your consent and with greater grounds to file a lawsuit.
Federal trademark registration provides increased remedies and damages over state or common law because you can sue in a different court system. You get two main advantages, the first is it’s easier to win a case against infringers if you have federal trademarks, and the second is that you can sue for damages in a different legal court.
Use the USPTO Principal Register to find potential trademarks and to create constructive notice that prevents unintentional infringement. An in-depth search can also prevent intentional infringement by providing information about prohibited or unprotected ownership of a mark.
What do Trademark Attorneys do?
Those that want to protect their trademark in the market need help from a trademark attorney. The application process is long and complicated, but the attorney will do this for you and also check for any other trademarks that might conflict with yours.
If you try to trademark on your own, there are many automated services that walk you through it but charge you a lot of money. It’s best to go to an attorney so you can get a refund later.
It’s likely that you will receive assistance from our office before applying for a trademark to make sure you put your best foot forward. If another trademark has already been registered, it might be best not to apply at all.
What is the Difference Between a Trademark and Copyright?
Trademarking protects a company’s ownership over their brand and what they sell. Trademarking also helps people know where to go for the product or service when they want it.
A copyright is a protection for the author, so without permission, no one else may use their work. However, just because someone doesn’t register their work as copyrighted doesn’t mean they don’t own it. In fact copyrights are in place whether they are registered or not.