Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Updated November 17, 2019
As all business owners know, your brand is your business. If you have a strong brand, then you have a strong business. Creating a strong brand is hard work. The best brands immediately inform the customer of the goods or services they will receive. To protect that investment the company must protect and trademark the company name, brand and logo. One area of law that helps protect brands is trademark law.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a brand name. It may include any word, symbol, device, or any combination, that is used or intended to be used to identify particular goods or services of one seller or provider from another.
In other words, a trademark identifies the source of the goods or services to the customer.
Let's look at an example: Think about sweetener packets. When you visit your local coffee shop’s fixings counter, you will see a number of different sweetener packets. The sweetener packets are usually, white, pink, yellow, blue and brown. The white packets have plain sugar, the pink Sweet n’ Low, the yellow Splenda, the blue Equal and the brown contain raw sugar.
When picking your sweetener you do not need to read the label on the packet because you know what color is associated with which sweetener. That is a trademark. The color of the sweetener packet indicates the source of the goods within (the sweetener) and the customer can easily identify the sweetener they wish to use.
Why You Should Trademark Your Company Name and Brand
Once you create your company’s name and brand, you should consider registering it for trademark protection. By registering your trademark, you can prevent another company from using your name or logo.
There are two places you can register your trademark:
With your state’s trademark office.
With the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can only register with the USPTO if your business crosses state lines. However, if you have a website, that requirement is fulfilled. The process to register your trademark with the USPTO is more expensive and takes more time, but provides more protections than a state trademark office. If you are looking to trademark your company’s brand, contact our law offices to determine where you should register your mark.
The Benefits of Registering Your Business's Trademark
Registering your mark allows you to prevent problems before they happen. The benefits of registering your trademark with the USPTO include discouraging others from using a confusingly similar mark for the sale of the same services or goods. It also allows you access to certain statutory damages and the ability to bring a claim for damages in federal court, and you can record your registered mark with the US Customs and Border Protection to block imports that are counterfeits or infringe the registered mark. Registering your trademark with the USPTO provides nationwide notice of ownership of the mark and protects your asset that you have invested immense resources in.
While registering your company's trademark isn't particularly challenging, it can take some time and experience help. While you're busy running your new company, a trademark lawyer can quickly fill out the necessary paperwork and get the copyright process underway.
Want to trademark your business in Vermont?
If you are looking to trademark your company’s brand, contact our office to determine where you should register your mark. We have a lot of experience in business law here in Rutland, VT, and we would love to help.