Do Startups Need a Trademark Attorney?
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 should trademark, how to go about the application process, and why you should have a trademark attorney during the process.
What Items Should Startups Trademark With the Help of a Trademark Attorney?
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:
Your Company Name
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.
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.
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.
Applying for a TM without a Trademark Attorney?
Getting trademarks for the 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 startup lawyer with trademark experience can ensure the items you want trademarked can be prevented, that is you must have a basis for filing, and most importantly, you can 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 and trademarks, a lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes which might result in denial.
Learn More About a Trademark Attorney
The Law Office of Elliott J. Brown 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 for more information.