March 1, 2024

The first step to protecting your brand is knowing what a trademark is and how you can use it to protect your brand — both now and in the future. As described by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark can be a variety of things including, “any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.” Your trademark clearly communicates to consumers that your business is the source of specific goods or services. Properly registering your trademark gives your business legal protections, including counterfeiting and fraud. A trademark also helps customers distinguish your business from others. 

What does your trademark protect?

It protects a word, phrase, or logo as it relates to your particular goods or services. However, having a registered trademark does not give you legal rights to prohibit others from using the mark for other types of goods or services. For example, if you use a phrase to describe a local bike shop to identify and differentiate your shop from others, that does not mean you can prohibit another business from using the same phrase for an unrelated business such as a bakery or hardware store.  

When do I own my trademark?

You can lay claim to your trademark when you start using it with your goods and services. Your use of the trademark establishes some limited rights but those rights do not extend beyond the geographical area of your goods and services. In order to beef up your protection, you’ll need to apply to register your trademark with the USPTO. There is no requirement to register your trademark but you put your brand at risk if you fail to do so. Why take the risk?

Should I hire an attorney to help me with my trademark? Find out more here. 

Let’s protect your brand! Schedule a call with MJ Vuinovich at (928) 233-6800.