Are you Making Mistakes When Selecting Your Trademark?

Written by on November 24, 2012 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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There is nothing worse than taking time to select a business name or service mark, print this mark on your marketing materials, and promote the business just to find out that your trademark cannot be protected or enforced in the court. One of the main reasons why businesses will register a trademark is to prevent other businesses from using their service markets, business names, packaging design, or even their marketing phrases to attempt to sell their own products and services.

Unfortunately, not all trade names can be protected. For business names that are named after specific ingredients or resources, the trade name is too broad to be protected. Businesses who have chosen generic business names like California Vineyards Replica Auto Parts have had problems trademarking their business names. This is because generic terms can never be trademarked because competitors would never be able to use these terms even to describe their products and services.

If you have a generic business name or your service marks and product names simply describe the product, you need to make sure that the name can be trademarked before you start the application process. This is why you need to do your homework before you start ordering all of your printed materials and advertising your brand.

5 Mistakes That You Should Avoid When You Are Selecting a Trademark

1. Make Sure You Do Not Consult a Trademark Attorney Too Late in the Process

It is very common to call your advertising team and develop a marketing campaign because you are so excited about the new brand, product, or business. You need to make sure that you do not wait until later on in the process to consult a trademark attorney. Consulting an attorney early on when you have ideas for the brand or business name is a good idea and can save you a lot of time in the process.

2. Start Developing a Strong Trademark

Now that you have an attorney, you should take time to build a strong trademark that can be registered, protected and enforced. There are 5 different categories of trademarks. Only three of these categories are considered strong. Make sure that you choose a fanciful, arbitrary or suggestive trademark name rather than going for a descriptive or generic trademark that cannot be protected.

3. Is the Domain Name Available?

You are going to spend a lot of time developing your presence on the web. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your textual trademark your domain name. You should take time to see if you can register your domain name as your business name for the .com, .net, and .org extensions. If the site is not available, make sure you do not use symbols just to get the website address you want. This could affect your customers’ ability to get to your site.

4. Do a Trademark Search with Your Attorney

If you already have a trademark attorney, the attorney will search all of the registration records to see if there are any conflicts. You must have a strong name that is enforceable and does not violate current infringement laws before you put all of your time and money into building an image.

5. Filing Out a Trademark Application and Registering Your Trademark

It is important to apply for and register your trademark as soon as possible. You may be surprised to see how quickly another business can act. Make sure that you protect the investment you have made and register your trademark so that it is yours and only yours for a specified number of years.

As you can see, there is a lot of potential to make mistakes when you are choosing or registering a trademark. Be sure to get an attorney involved as soon as possible in the process. Only after this can you determine what is a strong trademark and what is not.

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This is a guest post.  Loren Stacks contributes across the web on business, social marketing and trademark related issues. He is the day to day webmaster of SecureYourTrademark.

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