A trademark attorney can help to guide your overall brand growth as well as help you in the selection and marketing of your trademarks. If your business involves any aspects of building or maintaining a brand, then the resource of a knowledgeable trademark attorney should be utilized throughout this process. Proper branding will improve the public’s recognition of ones product and aid the brand-producer in the promotion and sales of other products.
Trademarks and Branding
With the economic incentives of creating a strong and growing brand, there are dangers. This is where trademark law comes in. Say you start a business making a new type of golf ball called “Spartan Golf Balls.” Sales start to go up, investors are calling, and golfers everywhere are excited about your product. But then you get a call from a small golf club manufacturer on the other side of the country selling a product called “Spartan Golf Clubs.” Worse yet, this company owns a federal trademark and is demanding that you to stop using the word “Spartan.” Under trademark law and the likelihood of confusion test, you will have to stop using “Spartan” and start all over with a new brand. The lesson here is clear: even if you aren’t ready yet to register a trademark, it is important to evaluate your branding from a trademark perspective.
A Warning About Online Trademark Registration Services
It may be tempting to use an online legal services provider such as Legal Zoom to register a trademark; however, trademark registration is nuanced and many of these providers will take your money without first telling you whether it is even possible to obtain registration for your trademark. Furthermore, each trademark registration includes the trademark you want to register (whether it is a word mark, image mark, or mix of both) selecting the international class that will the mark will be protected in, a description of the product or services that the mark will be utilized with, and a specimen of the trademark as it will be used in commerce. Each of these requires careful selection and presentation and mistakes or unclear aspects of your filing will cost you more money down the line or worse yet, may leave you with no federal registration at all.
Using an online registration service will work for a small amount of registrants, but few trademark registrations are so simple as to require no specialized attention. Essentially, each trademark is unique and requires a trained eye to understand and craft the proper registration.
A trademark attorney will do the following for you:
- Search for other companies already using your brand terms. The search for existing trademarks can be a complex and painstaking process – one that requires skill and experience. A trademark attorney will be able to find brands that might conflict with yours that you might not find on a Google search. If you start to build your brand only to find that someone else is using it, you could be out money and time – both wasted on building a brand you can’t keep!
- Evaluate your brand terms to determine whether they can be protected. Trademark law is nuanced and not all terms will qualify for trademark protection. An unprotectable brand will be both a waste of time and money.
- Guide you in selecting brand terms and style based on what is available and protectable. If you discover that your brand ideas are either already being used or are not protectable, a trademark attorney will be able to guide you in the selection of protectable branding concepts.
Every brand is different and so are the trademark implications. Often, a clever idea or a Google search alone is not enough to know if your trademark can be protected. The resource of a good trademark attorney will save you time and money in the long run, and may even save you from having to start over with a new brand.