A trademark registration allows your company to act quickly and cost effectively.
What would you do if you saw a product in a store with a name, logo and/or slogan similar to your company’s—so similar that a customer actually bought the product thinking it was a product made by your company? What would you do if a customer called to congratulate you on a new website that was in fact the website of your competitor with a similar company name, logo and/or slogan?
Most likely you would call your attorney and tell him or her to stop the competitor from using your company’s trademark(s) and causing confusion in the marketplace, i.e. trademark infringement. If your company already owns a trademark registration for the trademark at issue, a trademark attorney may be able to pull the offending product from the shelf or shut down the offending website.
A trademark registration is insurance against trademark infringement.
Without trademark registrations, your company could spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and several months attempting to prove ownership of the your trademarks. Meanwhile, your company’s competitor might continue to reap the financial benefits of piggybacking on your company’s goodwill which could cost your company lost sales and diminish your company’s reputation and goodwill.
Trademark registrations provide a presumption that your company owns the trademarks that are registered and may permit a federal judge to order an immediate injunction against another company’s use of the same or similar trademarks used on similar goods or services. A company using its trademarks without registrations must first prove that it owns its trademarks which could cost thousands of dollars in legal fees.
In addition, if your company prevails in the trademark infringement lawsuit, your company may be entitled to its attorney fees and treble damages based on its ownership of a trademark registration. It is highly advisable that your company purchase the insurance of a trademark registration against the potential theft of your company’s identity.
Don’t be sued without one…
On the flip side, a registration will be helpful if your company is accused of trademark infringement. Under trademark law, even if you did not intend to confuse the customers into believing your company’s products emanated from another company, the fact that customers are confused or are capable of being confused is a violation of trademark law.
Without a registration, your company may have greater exposure to a trademark infringement claim by another company that owns a registration for the same or similar mark. The process of obtaining a registration, including searching existing trademark registrations prior to filing an application and sage advice from a trademark attorney, reduces the likelihood that your company will be blindsided by a trademark infringement suit.
In a global marketplace in which most companies can be found with a few mouse clicks, it is wise to protect your company against trademark infringement and against being accused of trademark infringement. Your customer’s ability to find you and/or your products is too important not to take seriously. Therefore, protect these valuable assets with registrations from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.