A Startup’s Guide to Avoiding Common Trademark Mistakes

Starting a business is both exciting and exhausting. Because a lot is on the line, you need to ensure that everything is done right the first time, including applying for a trademark for your product or service.

In order to avoid problems down the road, here are five common trademark mistakes to avoid with the help of a trademark lawyer:

● Cutting Costs Too Much.

Many startups are strapped for cash, so cutting costs wherever possible seems like a good idea early in the game. One place startups should not cut costs too much is when it comes to protecting their trademark rights. Trademark rights grant exclusive protection to the trademark owner so that no one is able to use that mark without the owner’s permission. It is the foundation and the identity of your business. Without this protection, other businesses will be able to use the same or similarly confusing mark in the same line of business as your startup, possibly causing economic harm to your business.

● Leaving Your Brand Open to Attack.

A startup’s brand is what customers come to identify with the company. A trademark is a symbol, word or picture that you associate with your business or product. Over time, your customers will come to identify you and your business with your trademark. If you do not obtain federal trademark protection for your startup’s trademarks, others could steal your mark, or use a confusingly similar mark to trick your customers into thinking they are getting your product.

● Small Town Mindset.

Many startups believe that it is enough to file for trademark protection in the state in which they are doing business. This is almost always not the case. The better practice is to file for federal trademark protection. Once your mark is federally registered, you will have protection for your trademark across the entire United States. Additionally, the Trademark Office will also prevent confusingly similar marks from issuing after your mark has been registered. Having federal trademark protection means that if you have a dispute with another company over your use of your trademark, your case can be brought in federal court. Federal registration enables you to seek damages, injunctions, and other forms of recovery.

● Forgetting About Future Investment in Your Business.

Startups are always on the hunt for investors, and investors are often enticed by startups that hold trademark rights. By obtaining federal registration of your startup’s trademark, you are demonstrating to investors how seriously you take your company, products and brand.

● Not Doing Your Research.

Brainstorming a witty slogan, name and logo is always a good thing. However, poking around the Internet to make sure the slogan isn’t taken already is asking for a future lawsuit. Once you’ve decided on a company name, logo, slogan, or anything else that can be trademarked, you need to check with a trademark lawyer. This is the only way to be sure you’re in the clear.

The bottom line

The trademark process is a crucial part of the success of your startup because your brand, logo, or slogan is the foundation of your business and will represent your business for its entire existence. This is why it’s essential to avoid any mistakes that could cost you money, resources, and your livelihood.

Work with a reputable trademark lawyer who can help you with every step of applying and registering your trademark so that you can start your business on the right foot and ensure that you’re setting it up for success. Contact Parsons and Goltry, PLLC, today for more information!

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