The world as we know it today is filled with so many various companies and businesses that sell the same product or service. But that does not mean your business is not different then others in your same industry. You need to be able to differentiate your brand and make sure that brand is protected from others using it to their own advantage. Intellectual property lawyers can help you achieve this by using many different methods, the one we will discuss today is trademark protection and the big reasons why this is so important for you and your brand.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is defined as the assets of your company that are “intangible” such as your brand. They are broken up into four different categories, these are: trademarks, patents, trade secrets and lastly, copyrights. Intellectual property accounts for a majority of your company’s value in most cases. We can use a practical example to highlight its importance; KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken’s most valuable assets are not its processing plants or the inventory it has, it is their brand which would be a trademark, and their famous secret recipe which would be tied to trade secrets. To protect this, they would always have a trade secret lawyer in place in case anything goes wrong. So, as you can see with that example it is vital to make sure your brand is protected with trademarks.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is defined as any type of name, word, device, or symbol or any combination of those that is used in commerce and/ or indicates the origin of said service or goods. Trademarks can cover a wide array of forms such as colors, designs, logos, sounds etc. The most commonly used type of trademark is a product or company name, also known as a “character mark” or “word mark”
The main goal of a trademark is to help consumers from becoming confused as to the source of the given service or goods. This is so consumers can confidently identify two different companies that provide the same product or service. Trademark law will be different depending on the trademark itself. For example, made-up names or words such as Yahoo will have more protection than words that are used to describe a product or service such as pancake batter for pancakes. Therefore, it is important for your company to consider its name carefully so as that it does not commit infringement on another company’s trademark. Furthermore, a trademark will protect you from companies making their name or product similar to yours so that you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
Aside from making sure your brand is infringed on by your competition a trademark also makes it easier for consumers to find you and your brand. When consumers come across and see your “brand” or trademark they will automatically know who and what company they are looking at. When this occurs it helps because they know the reputation of your company and its goods or services which then they are less likely to go looking for other alternatives. Your brand could be the main decision maker for a consumer on whether or not they will buy your goods or services.
Your trademark can become a very valuable asset for your company over time. If your company is growing and becomes a staple in its given industry, your trademark will help identify who you are and will also help you become more visible. This can also be a big factor on whether or not your company will be successful in another industry. For example, say you wanted to expand your current business from making more than just laptops and wanted to start manufacturing phones. Having a highly visible brand name will help with the transition as consumers will already know what company they will be dealing with when going to look for a new phone.
In conclusion, trademarks can be a vital tool for growing your business’s brand name and popularity within the consumer population. An intellectual property lawyer can help you get your brand trademarked and many other things that are valuable to growing a successful business such as copyrights, trade secrets and patents. Just taking trademarks for example, an intellectual property lawyer can help with any and all varieties of trademarks, such as:
- Licensing and transactions of trademarks
- Unfair competition litigation
- Clearance searches and trademark advising
- Federal trademark registration
- State trademark registration
- Representation in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
You worked hard to grow your business and its brand, you should not have to worry about other companies using it to their own advantage in order to take your business. Contact an intellectual property lawyer in your area today so they can help protect you and your brand and help grow your business into the company you always dreamed it would be.