What Should I Know About Registering a Trademark?

If you want to create better awareness of your company and the goods or services you offer, consider following the lead of other businesses and register a trademark with the federal government. A good trademark helps distinguish your company from competitors and promote the quality of the products or services you provide. Entrepreneur makes a few suggestions to avoid possible pitfalls while registering your trademark. 

First, make sure no one else has already registered your chosen trademark. One place to search for existing trademarks is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) online database, but this is only a start since the USPTO database may miss some trademarks. For a more comprehensive search, you will need to check other sources like industry publications, internet domains, and state trademark registries. 

Also, make it clear what your trademark is and how you will use it.  A good trademark should have distinctive qualities from other trademarks so it will remain strong and help identify your company and your goods or services. Specify what kind of products your trademark will protect. Some companies use a similar trademark for a completely different class of products. A court will usually enforce your mark only against products or services similar to yours. 

While registering your trademark, watch your paperwork. The USPTO might send you a notice informing you of a problem with your application. You should deal with these notices either personally or through your attorney as soon as possible. The government may take your inaction as an indication you do not wish to proceed and will abandon your application. 

Even with your trademark registered, you must still protect it. Do not assume the mere existence of your trademark will protect your company. If other companies use your trademark and you do nothing about it, odds are the infringing companies will get away with it. Big companies particularly face problems with knock off products. If you do not protect your products from inferior copies in the marketplace, it could cause public trust in your company to falter. 

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