Brand and Trademark Protection
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Obtaining federal trademark protection can be of great value to a company and its brands. A federal trademark registration affords important benefits and there are risks associated with not obtaining registration. Accordingly, a company should make it a serious priority.
A Company’s Brand and Trademarks
A brand is what consumers associate with a company. It brings to their minds the distinctive qualities of its goods or services. It also identifies a company as the source of those goods or services. Brand names, logos, slogans and tag lines are all source identifiers that function as trademarks and/or service marks (collectively “trademarks”). Competitors may look to capitalize on the goodwill a company has established in connection with its brand and trademarks by using the same or a confusingly similar trademark. A company can help prevent this by protecting its trademarks.
Trademark rights arise in part, from using a trademark in commerce in connection with the sale or provision of goods or services. These rights are known as “common law” trademark rights. Common law trademark rights can provide limited protection in the specific geographic territory in which the trademark is used even without registration. A company can obtain broader protection for its trademark within an entire state by registering the mark in the state in which it is using the trademark. State trademark protection may be beneficial to a company that is selling goods or providing services solely within a particular state. State trademark protection, however, is typically not as valuable when a company is selling goods or providing services across state lines. Obtaining federal trademark protection with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) affords broader protection and is generally the best option for a company selling products or providing services in interstate commerce.
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