Trademarks identify the source of a product or service. They include business names, product names, logos, slogans, characters. While they are usually names and designs, they can also be comprised of sounds, such as the NBC or Intel chimes. Registering a trademark allows the owner to exclude others from using a trade name that is confusingly similar to the trademark. (Trademark examples below belong to actual clients, click on images to visit their websites.)
Trademark Registration provides you with compelling evidence that you are the one true owner of your trademark. It entitles you to stop others from using the same or a similar Trademark. In addition, if a Registered Trademark is infringed, the law assumes you are entitled to money damages.
If you have not registered your Trademark, it is extremely difficult to stop others from copying your trademark. You must prove in court that you are the only entity entitled to use the mark, even though you have not registered it. And, even if you are successful in establishing your right to the Trademark, it is very difficult to receive monetary damages or reimbursement for your legal fees.
A Trademark usually belongs to the company who began using it first. Infringing another’s Trademark, even unintentionally, can be costly. Therefore, prior to investing in and marketing a new brand name, it is wise to investigate whether it is already in use. A Trademark Search uncovers more than what is readily found using internet search engines. It also includes perusing both federal and state trademark databases looking for any previously registered trademarks that look or sound similar to yours. Bennett IP provides comprehensive trademark searches for reasonable rates in a timely manner.
The most common and most effective way to protect your Trademark is through Federal Registration at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Federal Registration allows the owner of a Trademark to seek statutory damages and attorneys fees against an infringer. It is also possible to file an Intent-to-Use application, securing rights to a name or logo before it actually goes on the market. Bennett IP does not charge you for an initial consultation. We also prepare and file Trademark Applications on a flat fee basis at a very competitive price.
Unlike Patents and Copyrights, Trademarks may be registered by State as well as Federal Government. State Trademark Registrations are inexpensive and are sometimes the best form of protection, depending on the type of business and its goals. However, there are also important limitations. At Bennett IP, we can advise you on the best course of action for protecting your trademarks, and explain the benefits and drawbacks of both federal and state registrations.