Trademark: Why is it Important for Your Small Business?
As a small business owner, it could be challenging to compete with established businesses in the industry. That’s why it’s important to protect your intellectual property (IP), like trademarks for your products or services. This prevents third parties from using your ideas or concepts without your consent, unless they have the license to do so.
Acquiring a trademark for your products or services, however, could be a tedious process. This is why obtaining the services of law firms like Cantley Dietrich would help you navigate the process easier.
What Does Trademark Do to Your Business?
A trademark could be symbols or words that would make your brand or products standout in the marketplace. You can register for a trademark in three ways:
- File a “use” application after the mark has been used
- File an “intent to use” application for a mark that has not been used
- Rely on a foreign application if it exists
You may use the ™symbol next to your mark, but you can’t use the registration symbol (®) unless your mark has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). It’s worth noting that it’s unlawful to use the registration symbol without approval from the PTO.
When you’re choosing a trademark for your company, choose something that is distinctive, so it’s easier to enforce. You can use your chosen mark indefinitely as long as it represents your offerings.
Understanding the Importance of Intellectual Property
Failing to legally protect your intellectual property can cost you a huge amount of money on re-branding or defending against a similar business. You may also miss out on major commercial opportunities.
Your intellectual property can serve as an additional source of revenue, especially if you decide to license your offerings to other individuals. In cases like this, you need to have a licensing agreement. It refers to a partnership between you (licensor) and other parties who can use your trademark (licensee) given that they pay the imposed royalty fee.
Licensing agreements can be available in different categories, such as:
- Trademark Licensing and Franchising Agreement
- Technology License Agreement
- Copyright License Agreement
Developing and Managing Your Company’s Intellectual Property
When you’re developing and protecting your IP, it’s crucial to accurately define and detail everything that’s included in it. You may seek help from an attorney or IP professionals to guide you with this process.
You should also know what kind of protection is applicable to your IP. This will inform how soon you need to file for protection before someone else does it, especially if you’re filing for a product design.
Once you have secured your IP, don’t forget other essential processes, like the renewal of legal IP registration or submission of additional documentation. It might be helpful to create a management strategy for your IP, as well.
It’s important to remember that your team should be aware of how to protect your IP. Everyone in the team needs to understand its importance in your organization.
Your ideas are your own, and they are worth protecting. With the right strategy, you can keep third parties from using the unique concepts in your business to make a profit.