What is a trademark?
A trademark is a type of property. A trademark means that you have a good or service that can be identified by a specific thing. A trademark isn’t ownership, but it will protect you legally. Trademarks are field specific. If you have a trademark on your logo, it does not stop someone from using a similar logo for a different type of business.
A trademark could be any of the following:
Any combination of those things that help customers recognize you and your business, brand, goods or services should be protected as your trademark.
Why do you need a trademark?
As mentioned before, a trademark becomes your property. Without going through the proper steps to register a trademark, anyone can access or have rights to what should have been intellectually yours. Without a trademark you will not have any legal footing to defend what you believe to be yours.
Aside from the legalities of trademarks, it also keeps your company unique. Being able to stand out from the crowd with a well-known slogan or logo can be very helpful these days as part of building a successful business. It helps to be easily recognizable and identifiable.
What is trademark infringement?
Having a trademark doesn’t mean that your word or symbol can never be used by anyone else. However, if your trademark is used by someone in the same or similar field as you, and them using it would cause confusion for consumers, it could be considered an infringement. Trademark infringement cases are based on likelihood of confusion.
Federal law protects trademarks that are properly registered. Simply deciding on a slogan or designing a logo and beginning to use it in association with your goods or services does not mean that it is yours, and will not create grounds for legal action. Proper registration is required.
To prove trademark infringement you should have:
- Legally protected trademark
- Ownership of the trademark
- Proof of confusion by defendants usage
For more detailed information on the subject, check out the Lanham Act (also known as the Trademark Act). If you feel you have a trademark infringement case, Beard, St. Clair, Gaffney are experienced and qualified to help.
Who needs a trademark?
Anyone who owns a business, is starting a business or offering goods and services should consider registering a trademark. Trademarks are typically “awarded” to the first person to actually use the phrase or design in commerce.
If you have not begun your process, but feel strongly about your idea, sometimes on occasion you can register a trademark with an agreement to use it in the future. However, this is more difficult.
Most commonly trademarks are used for:
- Brand names
When should I get a trademark?
Don’t delay! The sooner you register your trademark, the better. If you are at all considering securing a trademark for your company, contact Beard St. Clair Gaffney today to get the process started.
It is much easier to establish a trademark at the beginning stages of your business than to fight someone over who had it first later on. However, if it does come to that, our attorneys can help with this side of trademark law as well.
How do I get a trademark?
First, you need to establish whether the trademark you are wanting to register is protectable. Believe it or not, some marks are easier to protect than others. There are a few things you need to know or have decided before attempting to solidify your trademark. Identifying the mark format is part of the process as well as the goods and services associated with the mark.
A trademark attorney is an expert in all things related to trademarks. Contacting your local Idaho trademark lawyers at Beard St. Clair can ensure that all the proper steps are taken to establish and protect your trademark.
Contact Beard St. Clair Gaffney for your Idaho Trademark
Whether you need help with the registration process for your trademark, believe you have experienced trademark infringement, or simply need a consultation for more information from a professional, Beard St. Clair Gaffney wants to help.
Once you have a registered trademark, it is your responsibility to protect it and enforce legal action if need be. This can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you are a busy business owner. Don’t hesitate to let us take your case head on. We are passionate about protecting your mark.