Some business owners use unregistered trademarks. This is simply one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You should never even consider using trademarks without registering them first. Why? That is precisely what we will explain in this article, so read on to learn what you need to know about trademark protection.
The Benefits of Registering Your Trademarks
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these elements that identifies and distinguishes the source of your goods or services from those of others. A trademark can be a valuable asset for your business, as it can help you build brand recognition, customer loyalty, and goodwill.
However, to enjoy the full benefits of a trademark, you need to register it with the USPTO, as this will give you several advantages, such as:
- Nationwide priority. Federal trademark registration gives you the exclusive right to use your mark throughout the United States for the goods or services covered by your registration. This means that you can prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar mark anywhere in the country, even if they started using it before you in a different geographic area.
- Presumption of validity and ownership. Federal trademark registration creates a legal presumption that you are the valid owner of the mark and that the mark is distinctive and not descriptive or generic. This makes it easier for you to enforce your rights against infringers.
- The right to sue in federal court. Federal trademark registration gives you the right to sue infringers in federal court and seek remedies such as injunctions, damages, profits, attorney fees, and treble damages in cases of willful infringement.
- The right to use the ® symbol. Federal trademark registration allows you to use the ® symbol next to your mark, which indicates that your mark is registered and puts others on notice of your rights. This can deter potential infringers and enhance your brand image.
- The right to record your mark with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Federal trademark registration allows you to record your mark with the CBP, which can help you prevent the importation of counterfeit or infringing goods that bear your mark or a similar one.
The Risks of Using Unregistered Trademarks
If you choose to use unregistered trademarks, you are taking a big gamble. You are exposing yourself to several risks that could harm your business and reputation. Some of these risks are:
- You may face unfair competition. If you use an unregistered trademark, you may face unfair competition from others who use the same mark or a similar one for the same or related goods or services. This can cause confusion among consumers and dilute your brand identity, and you may lose customers and sales to your competitors as a result.
- You may have to deal with unfair registration of your trademarks by someone else. If you use an unregistered trademark, someone else may register it before you with the USPTO or in another country. This can prevent you from using or registering your mark in those jurisdictions or force you to pay a hefty fee to buy it back from them.
- It can be nearly impossible to gain financial benefits. If you use an unregistered trademark, you may not be able to monetize it effectively. You may not be able to license or assign it to others or sell it separately from your business. You may also miss out on opportunities to expand your market or enter into partnerships with other businesses that recognize the value of registered trademarks.
- It can be extremely difficult to enforce your trademark rights. If you use an unregistered trademark, you may have a hard time enforcing your rights against infringers. You will have to prove that your mark is distinctive and not descriptive or generic, that you have used it continuously and exclusively in commerce, that you have acquired secondary meaning or consumer recognition, and that there is a likelihood of confusion between your mark and the infringer’s mark. This can be costly and time-consuming, and you may not succeed in stopping the infringement or recovering damages.
Do Not Play with Fire – Register Your Trademark Today
As you can see, using unregistered trademarks is a risky business. You are putting your brand and reputation at stake, and you are missing out on the benefits and protection that federal trademark registration can offer you.
That is why you should register your trademark as soon as possible with the USPTO. By doing so, you will secure exclusive rights to use your mark nationwide and enhance your brand value and image.
However, registering a trademark is not a simple task. It requires research, strategy, and legal expertise. That is why you need the help of professional trademark attorneys who can guide you through the process and protect your rights.
If you are ready to register your trademarks and avoid playing with fire, contact Jurado & Associates, P.A. today for an initial consultation. You can reach us by phone at (305) 921-0976, by email at [email protected], or by WhatsApp at +1 (305) 921-0976.