As an entrepreneur, you put blood, sweat, and tears into your startup, not to mention your savings and investments of others. Strong branding is one of the things which will help your startup succeed in the first few years. As you put together your branding strategy, you have likely created a symbol or design for your logo and/or some type of slogan, catchphrase, or word to set yourself apart from your competition.
It’s crucial for you to trademark your creative marketing tools to prevent others from using them. Keep reading to learn exactly which items you could/should trademark, how to go about the application process, and why you should have a trademark attorney during the process.
What Can A Trademark Attorney Help Startups Protect?
You might be uncertain about which items, beyond your company’s name, you should (or could) trademark as you embark on your new endeavor. You need to protect all intellectual property related to your startup’s brand, which includes:
You should always try to trademark your company name. Potential customers or clients find you and your products with your name. When you don’t trademark your company name, you leave it open for nefarious competitors who might try to use a similar name and steal business away. When names are too similar, consumers get confused and don’t know from whom they are buying goods or services.
Your company logo is arguably your most important marketing tool. Consumers recognize your business from your logo, so it also needs to be protected. Some examples of iconic trademarked logos include Target’s bullseye logo, Nike’s swoosh, Apple’s bitten apple, and Starbucks’ siren logo.
Any catchphrases or slogans you use to market your company’s products or services should also be protected as a trademark. You can probably think of a dozen recognizable ones such as “I’m lovin’ it”, “Have it Your Way”, “Just Do It”, “A Diamond is Forever”, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, and many more.
When you have very specific products or services, you should protect product names from competitors. Even similar products need distinctive names. Gaming systems, cell phones, internet browsers, such as iPhone, PlayStation, and Firefox are examples of some trademarked product names.
Applying for a TM without a Trademark Attorney?
Getting trademarks for these items requires going through an application process with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Once you submit your application, the USPTO attorney reviews your application to make sure you’ve complied with all the rules. Then, they accept or deny the application. It sounds like a simple process. Yet, at any point, while applying for a trademark, something might go wrong and lead to a denial, making a startup lawyer with trademark experience necessary for the process.
Not all marks you choose can be legally protected or registered with the USPTO. A lawyer with trademark experience can ensure the items you want to be trademarked can be protected, and most importantly, can help you prevent others from using the same or similar mark. Trademark law is complex and even the USPTO recommends all those who file seek the help of a qualified lawyer. With specialized knowledge about intellectual property law, a trademark lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes which might result in denial.
Learn More About our Trademark Attorneys
The Brown & Blaier, PC offers a wide variety of trademark services for startups and established businesses. We counsel clients from many different industries concerning trademark matters. This includes the evaluation of names and logos, development, registration, and protection, just to name a few.
Contact us today if you find yourself asking, “do I need a trademark attorney?”