Trademarks form an essential part of your business’s public image. They let customers and competitors know the source of your product or service. A trademark helps consumers to identify and differentiate between brands, as well as to protect the trademark owner’s goodwill and reputation. Being able to inform others of these facts is essential to keeping your business growing.
Anytime that your company uses any symbol, advertising phrase, or design, that mark may be the subject of trademark registration. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants trademark protections to individuals and companies looking to protect their intellectual property rights. Reaching out to a New York trademarks lawyer could help you determine if trademark protection is necessary and file the appropriate paperwork with the USPTO.
Trademarks are any written or drawn materials that identify a party’s goods or services. The idea is that a competitor or potential customer is able to instantly recognize that the product or service is the property of an individual or company. Trademarks can come in three main forms.
Many companies apply for trademark protection on advertising slogans. For example, “We do it better than the rest” may be a trademarkable phrase that informs others that the services offered by a company are solely that company’s offering.
Another popular way to draw attention to a company’s goods and services is with a trademark that is stylized, is a design (symbol or logo), or is in color. This can include designs on the sides of vehicles, printed upon items such as coffee cups, letterhead used on correspondence, a fictional character, or product packaging. A trademark may consist of any of a combination of standard characters with no design or stylization, designs in stylized font, or letters in specific colors and in a specific order and font style.
Anyone using a phrase or symbol to distinguish their company’s brand should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Sound marks are trademarks that cannot be represented by words or a drawing. They include NBC’s chimes, or Black Entertainment Television’s “B E T”.
Owning a trademark and registering that material are two different concepts. As soon as a party creates a logo and applies it to items that reach the public eye, that party may claim ownership of that material. Even so, this comes with limited protection. Securing the sole rights to use material is the main benefit of seeking formal registration.
However, merely submitting an application is not enough to bring these benefits. Parties must also submit affidavits stating that the mark is used in commerce, provide examples of the mark in use, and pay all relevant fees. Letting a local trademark attorney take the lead in this process increases the chances of success.
According to 15 United States Code § 1058, registering a trademark grants the owner the sole use of that material for a period of ten years, unless the owner files an affidavit of continued use with the USPTO. Trademark registrations may be renewed for periods of ten years.
Infringements on the trademark rights of holders are unfortunately common. Other parties may attempt to capitalize on a company’s reputation in the community for quality and customer service. Registering a trademark with the USPTO allows holders to bring civil suits forward against infringers.
15 United States Code § 1117 outlines the possible remedies that trademark holders can seek from infringing parties. Improper use entitles the owner to the profits received by the infringer, actual damages, and court costs. However, the law offers enhanced compensation in the form of treble damages if the infringement involves the use of a counterfeit mark. Seeking help from a New York lawyer could be the first step towards collecting trademark infringement payments.
Trademarks are the backbone of your company’s reputation in the community. These words, designs, or phrases alert the marketplace of your product’s quality and reliability. As soon as you use these marks to identify your products, those marks are your property. However, for better protection, it is advisable to register those marks with the USPTO.
A New York trademarks lawyer could assist you with this registration. Additionally, in the event of an infringement, our firm could fight to protect your intellectual property rights in civil court. Contact us today to speak with a legal professional.