Biz Tips: How to Protect Your Brand with a Trademark

Biz Tips: How to Protect Your Brand with a Trademark

Biz Tip:

How to Protect Your Brand with a Trademark

Your brand name is the most valuable asset of your business. After all, it’s how the public recognizes you. If nurtured over time, a brand name carries power and prestige that’s irreplaceable.

As a result, it only makes sense to protect your brand as much as you can. Not doing so means other people can illegally hijack your brand name and the benefit it offers.

This article will explore the best way to secure your brand through a trademark.

How to Protect your Brand Name With a Trademark

A trademark is any word, image, or symbol that identifies a business or organization over any other. Think of McDonald’s’ yellow “M” arches or the signature “D” in Disney.

Securing a business name with a trademark is vital because it establishes the company as the legal owner. If someone else uses it, the owner can file legal action against them. Not having a trademark is a free invitation for others to use your intellectual property.

Wondering how to secure a business name with a trademark? Here’s the simple three-step process.

  1. Check if your trademark is available

The first step is to see whether your business name is already registered with another entity. You can verify by searching through the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

When searching, it’s essential to also look for names that sound or look similar to yours. Your application will most likely be denied if your brand name is too similar to another to the point of confusion or misrepresentation.

This also illustrates the benefit of applying for a trademark when you first start your business. It gives you the freedom to change your name if the trademark is already taken.

  1. Fill out the trademark application

Once you know your trademark is available, the next step is to fill out the application. You can either file your trademark for an existing business or reserve it for future use.

The application form includes basic information like the applicant’s name, address, and citizenship. The most important part is, of course, the drawing or name of the trademark itself with a thorough description. You must also indicate the products or services the trademark covers.

You can check out the USPTO application page for forms and more information.

  1. File the application

The last step is to submit your application form to the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You have two options: Standard or Plus filing.

TEAS Plus has a lower fee ($250 per class or products or services) and a higher chance of success. However, if your brand name doesn’t match with any of the presets listed in the requirements, you’ll need to apply using TEAS Standard with a fee of $350.

Tips for Protecting Your Brand Name

With your trademark secure, business name thieves will find it much harder to steal your brand. However, it won’t stop them completely. Some will still find a way to do it, especially if they’re in another country.

The key is to remain vigilant. Here are some tips you can use to protect your brand name.

  • Always use your brand name

Using your brand name as much as possible is crucial because it establishes your company as the definitive owner. It helps the public associate your business with your name so that when a copycat arises, people will know better. Plus, it’s just a part of good marketing.

  • Monitor your brand regularly

Keeping an eye on your brand mentions online using tools like Google Alert is an effective way to monitor its usage. You can immediately spot illegal uses so you can take swift legal action.

If you do find any infringement, you should act right away before the issue escalates. You’d be surprised that most violators are unaware of trademark laws.

  • Expand your trademark protection in other countries

Your trademark protection shouldn’t just be valid in your home country. With our global economy, it’s alarmingly easy for an entity in one country to infringe on your brand name without consequence.

It’s especially crucial to file a trademark in China. Not only are they a manufacturing powerhouse, but they also adopt the “first-to-file” rule.

  • Use a unique name

The safest way to protect your brand is to use a unique, proper name. This makes copying it much more difficult compared to a brand name that uses common words. In addition, it also makes the trademark application easier.

To protect business name trademarks, it’s crucial that you use them all the time. Bitly helps you do this by enabling custom branded links. Not only will your audience instantly recognize your brand, but it can build trust by telling them exactly what the link is for.

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