TRADEMARK LAW 101 Part 3- TM BASICS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION?
Filing an application for trademark registration gives you priority to your brand even before you have started using it: The filing date of your trademark application offers priority rights to the trademark throughout the country of registration, even if you have not begun to use your trademark. Generally speaking, the first to file an application gains a considerable advantage in securing rights to a trademark. For this reason, it is critical to start the registration process very early in your marketing plan.
Right to use registered trademark symbol ®: Once registered you have the right to use the circle R symbol with your trademark. This gives notice to everyone else that your brand has the protective rights associated with registration. Without registration you must only use the TM symbol for goods and SM for services associated with your brand.
Exclusivity to use your brand and to exclude others from using similar branding: Registration creates a legal presumption of the ownership and establishes a right of action against anyone who infringes on your trademark without having to prove that the infringer was trying to pass off their goods as your goods. Registration can protect the value of your brand identity in that you secure your right to use your brand in connection with your products and services so long as you maintain your trademark registration.
Statutory monetary damages: This is a meaningful right because without it you would have to be able to prove financial damage caused by an infringer or your trademark which can be a prohibitively costly and a time intensive process. For this reason, statutory damages have the additional benefit of being a deterrent to would-be infringers.
Expansion of regions and product Lines: Without trademark registration your common law rights are restricted to the geographic region where you have used your trademark for the exact types of goods or services that you have sold with the mark. Registration allows you to expand into other geographic regions and potentially to expand related product lines.
Right to the domain name: A registered owner of a word trademark has priority to the domain name that incorporates the registered trademark, subject to certain conditions. This right helps to prevent others from hoarding domain names without the intention of actually using those domains.
Assistance of Customs and Border Protection:
Both US and Canada customs agencies offer assistance to registered trademarks owners through programs designed to sift out counterfeit products. These programs aim to stop the importation of unlawfully trademarked goods into the US and Canada.
To find out more about what makes a strong trademark stay tuned for our next installment in this 6-part series on trademarks or contact us to schedule a branding strategy consultation.
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