Does Your Business Need A Trademark?
Not unlike how ranchers have their own distinct livestock brand to distinguish their herd from another rancher’s herd, businesses have trademarks.
The short answer is no. A business doesn’t ‘need’ a trademark, but it can benefit from having one. Trademarks are an important asset to any business that seeks to distinguish its product or service from those of competitors. Don’t believe me? Then interchange the word ‘trademark’ with ‘brand’ and all the sudden you may start to think twice.
Any fast food logo, clothing label, or even color in the case of Tiffany’s little blue box has a trademark!
The reason why trademarks are good for both businesses and consumers is because by identifying a product or service by a ‘mark’ they’re able to protect consumers from marketplace confusion. For example, when you see a pair of tennis shoes with a Nike swoosh brand on it you can identify that they are a product of Nike and likely of good quality. If trademark protection didn’t exist there would be nothing to prevent another shoe maker of lesser quality shoes from using that same or similar mark, and thereby leading to confusion in the market place.
But let’s say you operate your business in a small community, and your business depends heavily on it’s reputation like so many do. You’ve worked hard to build that reputation over many years and are proud of the service or products you provide. Without a trademark, it’s possible for another business to leverage off of the same or similar mark as you and not only benefit from that hard-earned reputation but also risk diluting it with their own sub-par quality and standards.
GETTING A TRADEMARK
Now you’re interested in getting a trademark, but don’t know where to begin or if your mark has already been taken. While there’s no arguing that google is the most economical source of information, it will likely not serve you well here. Filling out an application to register a trademark isn’t difficult, but it is expensive, and the more mistakes made on the application the more expensive it becomes.
To put it in perspective, for each class you want your trademark to apply to (and in Texas there are 45) the fee will cost you $275. On top of that, if you do happen to make a mistake on your application, the fee to re-apply will cost you another $275 for each class you applied for in the original application. You see how this starts to add up. Of course, this does not take into account the many other errors that can turn up later on if an application does not have the most accurate information. For instance, a common error that occurs is when a trademark is registered for a business, but the owner of the trademark is not the business but the person who filled out the application. This comes up a lot when a business is later sold but doesn’t include the trademark in the acquisition, because the business never owned the trademark but rather the person who filled out the application and put their name down as the owner.
An easier solution on the other hand will be to call The Parker Law Firm and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Where we can discuss your business’s needs one on one to determine the best options available to you. Have an experienced attorney register your trademark for a flat fee and avoid the uncertainty of registering yourself. Call today.