Many businesses miss the salient points of trademark and just settle on obtaining the license to operate and business registration. A trademark refers to any name, word, logo, symbol, design, or phrase that a company or business uses to assign a distinguishing feature or identity for goods or products, making a difference from competitors. Having a trademark immediately brings recognition to your customers who sees it. For service providers, service marks are used, while physical goods or products use trademarks. Trademarks are clearly distinguished from patent, wherein it is used to protect inventions, while copyrights are used to protect original literary pieces and artistic works.
In order to help avoid others using your brand name or the name and looks of your product or goods, you have to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are privileges and benefits registering your business’ trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The privileges and benefits of getting a trademark for your products and services include having exclusive rights to use the trademark in the United States and other countries where your products or services are sold; rights and abilities to bring actions in federal court on any matter that concerns the trademark; legal presumption of the ownership of the business of the trademark; public notice of the business’ claim of ownership of the service mark or trademark; and include your trademark to the listings of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You need to maintain your trademark as long as you file and submit all post registration maintenance documents.
The trademark registration process includes preregistration, mark selection, the application form, and evaluation period to verdict. There are two basic requirements to ensure that your mark it eligible to get a trademark registration including usage of the mark for business or commerce, and the mark should be unique or distinctive. There are four categories of distinctiveness including arbitrary or fanciful (inherently distinctive mark), suggestive, descriptive (acquired a secondary meaning in the perceptions and minds of the public), and generic (not protect able). When choosing a mark, it is important to consider the format of the mark, the good and services that the mark will be applied to, and the availability of the mark. There are design marks, word marks, shape marks, sound marks, and color marks, wherein color marks are more difficult to register since you need to submit substantial proof of acquired distinctiveness, and the logo rendered in color.
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