3 Fast Facts to Know About the Trademark Registration Process
Having some basic facts about trademarks will help you navigate the seemingly complex registration process. Once you understand these facts, the process of registration becomes less intimidating. A trademark operates to set apart a company or product from other similar items in the market. A trademark is a form of intellectual property in that is unique to a company and its products. They include inventive catchphrases, symbols, and slogans. A company normally registers its mark so as to prevent its competitors from copying its trademark or trademarks. Copying another company’s trademark is referred to as infringing. Infringing is illegal; it is grounds for instituting legal action by the innocent party.
Apart from differentiating products and companies in the market, trademarks are an effective tool of marketing. They encourage association and recognition of a certain standard of quality among consumers. By registering your trademark, you enhance fair and competitive market practices while protecting intellectual property rights. A trademark is considered to be a form of property by the law. Proprietary rights of a trademark are established through the use of the mark in the marketplace. Proprietary rights of a trademark can also be ascertained through registration in the trademarks registry.
It is important to note that some jurisdictions do not recognize trademark rights that arise from use. In such a jurisdiction, enforcement of trademark rights through infringement proceedings is difficult since the mark has not been registered. Below are a few things you need to understand concerning the process of registration.
Establishing your trademark rights
Understanding the process of obtaining, applying and registering a trademark can help your company move to the next level. In order for you to obtain a trademark, registration at the federal level is not mandatory. However, it is recommended. It is not a must for you to register a trademark in order to use it. This process only secures your trademark and ensures that it is associated with your company. It will allow you to use the trademark across the nation.
Trademarks afford you two types of rights: the right to register the mark and the right to use it. The right to use a trademark commences when you are first to use the mark in the market or upon filing an application. Trademarks last indefinitely; therefore, it is incumbent upon the owner to understand its terms of renewal. Trademarks are renewed after ten years and the law requires you to file and submit an affidavit between the 5th and 6th year. This is something you should consider discussing with your lawyer.
Conducting searches on trademarks
It is important that you conduct a complete search of your mark before applying for registration. The results of the search might bring up some potential problems, such as the possibility of confusion with another registered mark or one that is pending registration. A search will save you the cost of registering a mark that will not be allowed. Searching also highlights whether your trademark, or a part of it, appears to be generic. This makes your mark weak and difficult to protect against infringement. It is important that you select a mark that is strong in a legal sense. A strong mark is one that is easily enforceable against third-party use.
The role of lawyers
Filing a trademark registration at the trademark registry marks the beginning of a legal proceeding. These proceedings are complex and require you to satisfy certain requirements of the trademark statute. Most applicants employ the services of a lawyer who deals with trademark matters to represent and advise them during the proceeding. A lawyer will help you during and after the registration process. He or she will help you police and enforce your trademark rights. It is not mandatory for you to have an attorney. The work of lawyers in this process is to ensure that you understand and comply with all the requirements. A lawyer is also supposed to help you understand the scope of your rights and prepare responses if your application is denied.