As a business owner, you’re probably thinking of new ways to market your goods and services. Or maybe your business is already doing well, but you want to find more innovative ways to grab the attention of consumers.
Either way, one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked in the mix is trademark protection for your product names. Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for years, having thorough trademarks can help assure success.
Trademark laws date back as far as 1870; so many businesses understand their importance by now. But it’s unlikely that all entrepreneurs know just how much impact trademarks can have on their business plan – even the best-laid plans can fall apart if proper action isn’t taken up front about branding and trademark protection.
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What Do Trademarks Do?
Trademarks are symbols or phrases that represent your company or product brand name, distinguishing you from competitors who try to use the same means to sell their goods and services. For example, one of the most widely used trademarks is probably Nike’s “swoosh” logo – no other athletic shoe manufacturer uses a similar design, so customers know exactly where their money is going when they buy Nikes. That’s because Nike spent millions of dollars not just designing this symbol but also on protecting it. They’ve copyrighted it in more than 160 countries around the world, meaning that even if another company wanted to draw up a similar logo for its shoes; Nike could legally stop them (and would likely win any battle that came to court).
Why Should You Care About Trademarks?
Having your own trademark (and protecting it) shows consumers that you’re serious about providing quality goods and services. It’s also part of the steps necessary for maintaining good public relations, especially if you sell products or offer services on a large scale. People like loyalty, and having strong trademarks helps assure customers they are dealing with a company dedicated to success – not one who is cutting corners on licensing issues.
According to William D King the best way to look at this is how many people go into malls or shopping centers looking for specific stores, rather than just wandering around hoping to see something that catches their eye. That’s because most of us enjoy feeling confident in our buying decisions, and knowing that the trademark we’re seeking is attached to a solid company name helps provide us with that peace of mind.
There are many reasons why trademarks are critically important in your business, but what you need to concentrate on is how they can affect your bottom line. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, try to take all steps necessary to assure proper products names and trademarks – it could be the difference between success vs failure for your company.
How to Protect Your Trademarks?
The best way? Through filing federal trademarks (and making sure these filings are maintained throughout the tenure of your small business), since this offers global protection across all fifty states plus Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and The Northern Mariana Islands.
However, even though federal trademarks are available for many types of products names and phrases, you still need to obtain state trademark protection for your name or logo with the Secretary of State in each U.S. state where you plan on doing business (and every foreign country too). This is important because most shoppers purchase through local businesses – based on regulations by city, county, and state entities – so this step is crucial to making sure your small business stands out from others who provide similar goods or services.
For example, if you list yourself as doing business within the “County of Los Angeles” but fail to file Trademarks said area/jurisdiction, then you could find that another company does business under the same name too. If they were around first, your small business may have to take on a different moniker – one that’s harder to market or isn’t as easily remembered.
By filing for trademarks at both state and federal levels, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of protecting your name so it remains yours alone! This will also assure customers return time & time again since they are receiving the assurance you are indeed dedicated to competing within this industry – and not just trying to make a quick buck by putting out low quality products…
Conclusion by William D King:
So, while this isn’t the world’s most exciting topic it is one that deserves some attention. If you’re looking to start a new business and want to be 100% sure your efforts won’t be wasted on legal battles with another company who had similar ideas (and filed trademarks), then do yourself a favor and make sure you take the necessary steps – before your small business officially opens its doors.