Registering your business name as a trademark is important, but not urgent.

Save money by registering it before it is urgent.

When you get a federal trademark you make it:
1) easier to prove you own the name when the time comes to enforce your rights
2) harder for others to challenge your trademark
3) easier for others to find your mark and therefore avoid using a name similar to yours
4) easier to enforce your rights against websites that try to steal your business by using your name
5) an asset that is easier to sell, license, and value; and 6) easier to expand into new territory because it gives you nationwide rights.

You can survive for years without registering your trademark and may never have a problem. Recently a client asked me to register a 15 year old brand name for a seafood product because it was growing and going national. A trademark search showed a company in another state registered the SAME NAME for a seafood sauce about 7 years ago. If my client’s growing business bumps into the seafood sauce he will probably lose. Registering the trademark years ago would have been much cheaper than coming up with a new brand now.

Another client recently won a gold medal for their wine. Good news right? Guess what – the brand name was already registered as a trademark of another winery. The trademark problem limits the value of the gold medal.

We’ve used registered trademarks to keep competitors from moving into the area by putting them on notice that if they come they will have to change their name.

More than one client has had their name used by a competitor in an attempt to steal internet traffic. Having a registered trademark is one of the best ways to prove who has legitimate rights in the name so you can end the theft through arbitration instead of by going to court.

Some names are too descriptive to initially be recognized by the law as having trademark rights but after being registered for 5 years as a “supplemental” trademark you can often transition to a regular trademark. Too many clients learn about this when a competitor shows up, and by then it is too late to get the registration.

When any of these issues come up the trademark becomes an urgent matter. My goal is to help you minimize urgent trademark matters by helping you get your business name and brand names registered before they become urgent.