An essential part of being a business owner is establishing the brand of your business. Having a unique trade name and logo can differentiate your product or service in the market and helps build consumer recognition and reliability. Given the value of a company’s brand, it’s important to ensure that your brand is protected from others using the same name or likeness for their own use. This is especially true in the social media age of today, where a business’s intellectual property is publicized and accessible to other individuals.
The most important step in brand protection is having a registered trademark for your business. This ensures nationwide protection, where no one can use a similar, not only identical, name or logo as you in the same goods or service industry. Trademark attorneys specialize in brand protection and will assist you in registering your mark.
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How Do I Find One?
Shopping around for a reliable and trustworthy attorney can be a difficult and timely task, given that there are so many options to choose from. The trademark registration process can be a lengthy one, and you want to ensure that you are matched with the right professional who understands the needs of your business and your brand.
The best place to start is asking other business owners who have already registered their mark for a referral. With referrals, you can verify the attorney’s reputation from someone with first-hand experience, as well as understand the range of costs associated with the services you are seeking.
Attorneys in other practice fields are also great referral sources. Even though the practice area may differ, the legal community is very connected, and they can refer you to someone in a specific practice area.
Another means for finding an attorney is through social media. Most attorneys are present on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, where they share about their company and their client base. This allows you to understand more about their firm before getting started.
Legal search engines are also useful resources, where you can find a directory of attorneys, filtered by practice area, such as Lawrina. You can search the directory and go through the professional bio of each attorney without having to resort to each firm’s website to find the best fit for you.
Myths About Trademarks and Things To Avoid:
You are not limited to procuring an attorney in your state. An important point to note when finding a trademark attorney is that trademark law is governed by federal law. This means that you do not need to find an attorney who is located in your specific geographic region. As long as the attorney is admitted to practice law within the United States, they can assist you.
Beware of large document filing companies that offer trademark services, such as LegalZoom. They are not the same as hiring an attorney. Filing companies are not law firms and cannot offer
you legal advice. These are more of a “do-it-yourself” platform. Many trademark applicants don’t realize that a trademark application is a legal document that will be rigorously examined by an attorney from the USPTO trademark office who, in many cases, will have follow-up questions and requests for additional information. Without the advice and guidance of a trademark attorney, it will be entirely up to you to properly respond to these inquiries and to know when your responses are due. You may cut costs on the front end, but any mistake along the way can become quite expensive.
Trademark registration is not the same protection as owning an LLC or other business entity, a website domain name, or social media handles.
If a business owner has a registered business entity with their trade name, that would only provide some form of protection from others seeking to use that name within the same state. However, nothing stops an individual from using the same name in another state. The only way to prevent it is to have nationwide protection for your brand by filing a federal trademark.
Website domain names and social media handles do not provide nationwide protection for your brand either. Others may use a similar variation to your domain name or social media handle and create brand confusion in the marketplace.
To understand more about how you can protect your brand and your business, contact a trademark attorney to learn more.