The process of choosing, registering, and protecting a trademark is crucial for your business. The logo, name, or symbol you choose to register as a trademark can be a valuable asset to you and your business. However, one mistake could significantly affect your business and leave you in a lot of trouble. For example, if you do not conduct a thorough search before registering a mark, you could end up being accused of trademark infringement. Such unauthorized use of a trademark is not permitted in North Carolina.
When handling any legal procedure, information is vital. Many business owners make trademark mistakes because they fail to gather crucial information about selecting, registering, and protecting trademarks before embarking on the registration process. Before registering a trademark, familiarize yourself with the things you need to do and those you should not do during the trademark selection, registration, and protection process. Some of the costly mistakes people make bear grave consequences.
The following are four costly trademark mistakes you need to avoid and why.
Mistake 1: Failing to Use a Trademark Before Submitting a Registration Application
You need to use a mark in commerce before you can register it. There are two types of trademark applications you can file with the USPTO.
1. 1A Application- In use
2. 1B Application- Intent to use
Use 1A applications if you’re already using you trademark in commerce. The 1B application is for people who intend to use the trademark. The USPTO will allow you file a 1B application; however, they will not award any trademark registration to you unless you use your mark in commerce. Business owners are not allowed to register trademarks to use them in the future; hence, the need to use the mark before registering it.
Mistake 2: Failing to Enforce Trademark Protection
USPTO will approve and register your trademark, but you are the one who needs to ensure that no one infringes on your mark’s rights. USPTO does not provide trademark monitoring services. Failure to identify trademark infringement is not good for your business. For example, an infringement can cause your mark to lose its strength. Additionally, when other business owners copy your mark or use marks that are almost similar to yours, you could end up losing customers because of the other marks confusing them. Strictly enforce trademark protection to avoid losing trademark rights.
Mistake 3: Infringing on Another’s Trademark
Conducting a thorough search of your mark before registering it prevents you from infringing on the rights of any other trademark. If you fail to conduct a thorough search before registering your mark, you risk facing a lawsuit and paying hefty penalties if you end up infringing on another business's trademark.
Mistake 4: Failing to Renew Your Trademark Registration on Time
Once you register a trademark and continue to use it, you need to renew it after 10 years. As long as you keep using the trademark and renewing it, you can keep the mark forever. Failure to consistently use a trademark and meet renewal deadlines could lead to the cancelation of your trademark. Therefore, pay attention to renewal deadlines.
Contact us for More Information
At Brent Bownes Law, PLLC, we care about you and your business and are committed to ensuring that you avoid making trademark mistakes that could harm your business. Reach us today to schedule a consultation if you want to learn more about the costly trademark mistakes you need to avoid.