Highly acclaimed musicians Beyoncé and Jay-Z have recently filed trademark applications in the names of their newborn twins, Rumi and Sir Carter. Both applications were filed on June 26, 2017, around the same time as when the entire family returned home from the hospital. As we reported after the birth of their first child, they took the same precautions for the name of their eldest daughter, Blue Ivy. This month we discuss the importance of registering one’s intellectual property interest in a name by filing for trademark registration. The following is some important information business owners should know about trademark law.
Trademarks let consumers know where the goods and services they are purchasing originate. They also prevent third parties from free-riding off of the goodwill another company has generated by copying their name. In other words, trademarks help the consumer identify or recognize your company. Trademark registration can be used to protect not just your name, but your logos, emblems, colors, and characters.
When filing a trademark application you must identify what your specific mark is and what specific goods or services you provide under that mark. The scope of protection will be limited accordingly. For instance, a company who registers the name of GREEN MUSHROOM to use with the jewelry they sell would not be able to prevent another party from using the name GREEN MUSHROOM Pizza Parlor for their restaurant because they are in a completely different category and therefore not likely to cause consumers to be confused about the source of the goods they are purchasing
There are numerous benefits to trademark registration. Some of the benefits of registering your trademarks include nationwide as opposed to regional protection of your mark, proof that the mark is yours via a Registration Certificate from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in a situation where the owner wants to license the mark (such as with a franchise) registration can provide others with proof that you are the owner of the mark.
Business owners should begin by conducting a clearance search before they invest too much into a mark. This can help make sure they don’t receive cease and desist letters from other parties who already registered that mark. Once you receive the search results, you can file an intent-t0-use trademark application even before you begin using the mark in commerce. The trademark registration process can take a while (often over 6 months), so it is best to start early.
Because of the intricacies and nuances inherent to trademark law, it is generally advisable to use a lawyer to register your trademark. A lawyer can research in depth and advise you on how to avoid potential pitfalls that can lead to costly lawsuits. Choosing the right lawyer can be crucial. For more information on selecting the right counsel see our blog article entitled HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT ATTORNEY FOR YOU? By using the following link: http://www.omnilegalgroup.com/blog/choosetherightattorney/.
Learning more about how trademarks can add value to your company and protect your company’s goodwill in the long run. Familiarizing yourself with some of this crucial information will help mitigate the risk that someone else will use your hard-earned trademarks and mislead your customers.