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No matter what products and services your company sells, the proper use of trademarks is critical to prevent theft of intellectual property by competitors, recoup damages if theft does occur and ensure that your brands are unique. A proper trademark search will also ascertain whether you are potentially setting your company up for legal issues through an unintentional infringement of someone else’s trademark. Getting a proper trademark comes at a price, but there are ways to keep costs at bay. Since performing the searches and completing the paperwork can be time intensive, you may find that hiring a company or professional who is experienced in trademarks and the associated laws might be more cost-effective in the long run.
A trademark after your company logo or product name will notify other people that you have legal protection against infringement. The trademark logo is often enough to discourage others from stealing your brand or idea. It is a symbol that legal action can be taken against anyone who infringes upon your rights.
A trademark allows you to receive damages if someone tries to steal your idea. Generally, you can recover triple the damages, including attorney fees, if someone tries to dispute the ownership of a trademark. You have legal right to sue in a court of law if you have a registered trademark. The trademark also protects you from any legal action filed against you concerning a product, even in an international market.
A trademark allows you to register your product with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent your product from being taken to an international market without your permission. You will also be listed in the Patent and Trademark database, which can be searched online. This registration allows you to use the federal registration symbol on your product to provide other individuals with a fair warning that your product is registered and protected under federal laws.
Trademark services add protection to your product or service. They can protect your logo or your company name. It reduces the risk that someone will infringe upon or steal your trademark rights. There are many companies that can help protect your trademark, including CSC.
Pitfalls of Using Trademark Services
Trademark services search available databases to ensure that no similar trademark is in use by another company. These services can also help you to file your trademark application and subsequent documentation. Many also provide monitoring services to ensure that no other company is using your trademark. These services may be constant or periodic, depending on your company’s needs.
The cost for applying for a trademark is based on the number of classes your trademark will be used under, the type of form filed, and several other factors. Most trademark applications include a processing fee of at least $275, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If you use a trademark service, you will also have to pay the fees of the trademark service, which can easily double or triple the amount of money you are going to be out-of-pocket for filing for your company’s trademark.
The USPTO doesn’t offer faster processing options for trademark services. Normal processing time is one year up to multiple years, depending on the application submitted. When you add in the processing time for the trademark service, the overall time will be even longer before you get your trademark. With smaller trademark services, the processing time for them to get your application submitted to the USPTO may be a very long time, as only licensed attorneys in good standing can represent you.
Even though you hired a trademark service, there isn’t any guarantee that your application would be approved by the USPTO. If the application ultimately isn’t approved, some trademark services won’t refund their fees, as they did file the application. Other services will refund a portion of the fee you paid if the denial of your application meets specific criteria. In any case, the money paid to the USPTO isn’t refundable.
Even if you use a trademark service to fill out your application, you still have papers that need to be filed between years six and eight after you get the trademark as well as every 10 years thereafter. Unless your contract with the trademark service specifically covers these subsequent filings, you will have to go through the hiring process for each one of those filings.
Because trademark services help prevent customer confusion and allow your company to be identified as the source for a product or service, it is critical that a company makes room in the budget for trademark services. There are several different costs associated with these services.
Trademark Search Services
This is the process whereby a company searches existing databases of trademarks and determines whether yours is already taken. Thomson and Thomson is a well-known provider of trademark search services; in fact, the company was rated the best in a recent survey, with over 90% of customers extremely satisfied. The company charges $380 for a full search.
Once you have determined that a trademark is available, you must file paperwork to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As with any legal documentation, prices vary by lawyer. An established lawyer can average well over $300 for this service. Do-it-yourself sites like LegalZoom.com charge less than $200.
Before you print your first business card, make sure that you have trademarked your company’s name, logo and any other intellectual assets that your competitors might try to steal. Although you can perform a trademark search and complete the associated paperwork yourself, it is wise to seek out the assistance of professionals who know the ins and outs of the process to complete the job. You will have to pay a price for these services, but those costs are much less than what you would have to pay if you inadvertently infringed on someone else’s trademark or if a competitor decides to intentionally steal your company’s brand identity.
A trademark is a distinctive logo, name, phrase or image that is used by a legal entity, such as a business, that helps identify the products or services to its potential customers.
Trademark services have become an essential part of business for most companies.
Marketing is a fundamental aspect of all businesses, and the trademarks used by a company can play a significant role. If other companies use the same or similar logo, then it can have serious competitive consequences. Obtaining a registered trademark can prevent any unauthorized use, and also allows a company to instigate legal proceedings against any violations of the trademark.
There are many trademark services around, but a basic electronic filing of a trademark is set at a fixed figure. Services performed by a specialized lawyer also add to the cost. A search fee to see if a trademark has already been given is another expense to consider. However, for most businesses, getting a trademark gives protection to the company that more than justifies any costs involved.
If you need to learn more about trademark services and how they can affect your business, check out the links on this page, which were researched and compiled by Business.com.
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