A guide to legal trademark legislation
Trademarks are key additions to all products, whether they are marketed in a small locale or global arena. They legally connect a product to its seller, which is crucial if the seller believes in the quality of their goods and their business reputation—if the product is going to appeal to an audience and bring profit, then that return should go to the creator and not the competition.
However, unregistered trademarks, improper application and a myriad other bumps in the road to developing a trademarked product can result in the loss of rights to the product and all that comes with it. Trademark law is involved, complicated and completely necessary for manufactured goods; learn how to properly establish ownership and defend those rights.
Ultimately, registered trademarks provide more legal protection than those that have not been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, though it is not a mandatory step for a business. Like copyrights, a distinctive product with a unique name is essentially trademarked the moment it is produced. Trademark registration becomes crucial to quell the competition that arrives after your unique product is introduced to the market. Like patents, you may be able to show that you had marketed your idea before another company, but if there's an absence of physical evidence, your case will be hard to prove.
Trademark Registration and Defense
Before companies register trademarks, they must conduct a trademark search to ensure that a there isn't a very similar trademarked name in existence that would lead to consumer confusion. Other factors may prohibit a federally issued trademark as well, such as informational slogans, generic terms or anything that is deceptive or scandalous. Once you develop a name and product that can be trademarked, the legal process continues; even after registering a trademark, as it will only be effective for a given number of years, and you will need to renew it to retain full legal ownership.
Although an individual can choose to present their application for a trademark directly to the USPTO, your registration can be snared by the exceptions listed above, consistency issues and the resulting "trademark prosecution" that will thoroughly examine your application. With the help of a trademark attorney that is familiar with the process, you can execute all the steps in the limited time that is allotted to you. Furthermore, the attorney is a welcome teammate when it comes to the negotiations with the PTO attorney and the written arguments that are required for registration.
When it comes to defending your trademark, you will likely face a long and involved litigation process. However, a trademark attorney will have the expertise to draw on a range of statutes from a range of industries to develop a clear and promising course of action. As technology changes and the marketplace evolves, an attorney will be invaluable in the defense of your rights.