Brian Russ Law, Inc. provides trademark registration services for clients in all 50 states, including North Carolina.
The Importance of Trademarks
A trademark is the name which distinguishes one company’s goods from those of another. If a company does not have a trademark, it cannot protect its name and is vulnerable to competitors that are able to use it for their brand. For example, if someone created the words ‘Happy Days’ for a nursery school and started using them for their businesses, the owner of the Happy Days toy store could not stop them from doing so.
If a business wishes to prevent others from using their trademark, they need to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office protects a brand for goods and services within the US in all countries. It also puts other companies on notice without explicit permission of use.
How to protect your company’s assets with Federal U.S. Trademarks.
Trademarks or service marks are used to identify goods and services that come from a specific company. They’re the same way that someone might use a logo. Trademarking is important because it prevents others from using your mark without your consent by giving you greater grounds for filing a lawsuit against them.
Federal trademark registrations are important for two reasons. First, they make it easier to win a case against infringers if you have federal trademarks instead of just 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 or to receive a bigger remedy.
Another benefit of having a trademark on Principal Register is that when someone uses your mark, you have constructive notice. Users are expected to search the Principal Register before using your mark and could be sued for infringement if they don’t. The violation is still actionable even if it’s unintentional.
Hire someone you can trust to avoid pitfalls that are common with DIY!
You should hire a trademark attorney to make sure that your trademark is legally protected. The process of trademark registration can be detailed and complicated. A trademark attorney can help guide you through the process from start to finish. They will complete the application for you, as well as conduct an extensive search for any other similar trademarks that might conflict with yours.
We almost always recommend against our clients trying to secure a trademark on their own. Trademark law is complicated and has many different aspects that you need to take into account when an application. 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 pride ourselves on how easy it is for you to get your trademark right the first time. If you would like advice on positioning your application or not applying at all, reach out to our office. Sometimes this may be an option if already owning a similar trademark.
What the difference between Trademark and Copyright
Trademarks are used to protect a company’s brand and identity. These include the company’s name, product, or logo so that customers know the source of ownership. Trademarks are also mainly used for advertising purposes in order to make consumers aware of who their primary source of purchase is.
Copyright is a type of protection for an author or artist, meaning that no one can use their work without permission. Just because you don’t register your copyright doesn’t mean it does not exist, however. It’s important to know the difference between trademarks and copyrights to ensure your company is protected.
Examples of Trademark Needs in Winston-Salem, 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 Louisville, or driving on Interstate 285, 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 Winston-Salem, 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 Winston-Salem and Arcadia, like the Winston-Salem Dash and the Carolina Thunderbirds. 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.