If you run a business, you know the importance of your reputation. You want your customers and business partners to hear your business’ name, see your logo or any other indicators and immediately think of your quality products or services. When some other business comes along and courts your customers with something misleadingly similar, it can be infuriating, and it can do lasting damage to your business.
Trademark law presents a powerful way to protect your business against this kind of unfair business practice. However, registering trademarks with the federal government can also be time-consuming and expensive. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways to know whether your business needs to pursue registering a trademark.
When your company went into business, you probably registered your business name with the Florida Department of State. This department of state government also allows you to register trademarks and service marks. (Technically, a trademark protects products and a “service mark” protects services.) When your marks are registered, you can legally prevent others from doing business in Florida with the same or confusingly similar marks in the same business category.
Note that these protections do not necessarily cross state lines. Your Florida registration may not help you take action against competitors in other states or in other countries. If you have a lot of customers outside of Florida, you may need some stronger protection.
If you successfully register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you will have powerful protection throughout the United States and, to some extent, globally.
However, the registration and legal fees involved in the process can add up — especially if you are registering in multiple categories. Before the USPTO will officially register your mark, it will thoroughly review your application. It will publish your mark and give other businesses the chance to object to your registration. Agents within the USPTO will review your application and decide whether to register your mark. The whole process can take months, or even a year or more.
That said, once your mark is registered, you will be able to protect your business’ reputation throughout the United States. It will also be a lot easier for you to expand your business outside of Florida if you choose to do so.
Weigh your options
When deciding whether a trademark registration is right for your business, one of the first steps to take is to speak with an attorney. An attorney with experience in trademark law can help you weigh all your legal options for protecting your business