Trademarks, copyrights, and overall intellectual property have become international news topics in recent years. With allegations that China is violating American intellectual property, or IP, and global vendors violating patents filed by American corporations, they’ve become pressing issues.
Whether you’re a startup, small business, or large enterprise, it is important to submit a patent or file a trademark on a specific product, brand, or marketing scheme. Otherwise, your idea may be adopted by some company operating in New Zealand or New Guinea.
As you navigate through the world of trademarks, you need to avoid making specific mistakes, which could cost you plenty in multiple avenues, either in the short-term or in the long-term.
Unsure what to do and what to refrain from doing?
Here are five trademark law mistakes to avoid every lawyer wants you to know:
1. Not Consulting with a Trademark Lawyer
Every business needs to have a trademark lawyer on retainer. These legal professionals can provide you the necessary guidance and assistance to ensure you are well protected from potential claims or others have used your trademarks without permission.
You will want a trademark lawyer that has success in the courtroom, has worked with a wide variety of different clients, and has the know-how about trademark rules, laws and regulations.
Like you would with any other professional, you’ll want to do your necessary research and due diligence: read reviews, check out testimonials, seek out referrals, and peruse star ratings.
2. Not Picking a Trademark You Can Protect
There is one thing that many entrepreneurs fail to realize: you need a trademark that you can protect. You can’t just pick the term “blue” or the term “coffee.”
Moving forward, your company needs to abide by this criteria for proper trademarking:
- You can’t trademark a generic term.
- You can trademark something descriptive with a secondary meaning.
- Anything that is suggestive, unique, and arbitrary is eligible for trademark.
Now you know how to trademark your company.
3. Not Performing a Trademark Search
You may have the greatest idea for a marketing scheme, a brand name, or a startup moniker. Unfortunately, someone else already came up with the concept, so you can’t trademark it.
One of the best things you can do is perform a trademark search. This is a database that has an immense list of trademarks, either nationally or from around the world.
4. Not Conducting a Domain Name Search
Before you select a trademark, you need to ensure that a domain name is available. Ultimately, you want a domain name that matches your trademark. Otherwise, you may establish something unique but you can’t complement it with a website domain name.
Akin to the trademark search, it is important to perform domain name search, too.
Here is a simple suggestion: perform both searches on the same day.
5. Not Registering Your Trademark
Finally, and this is perhaps the most important step to take, you need to register your trademark.
Without a registration, your idea is worthless and can’t be protected under any international law. It will come with a fee, paperwork, and headaches, but trademark registration is crucial
Indeed, you don’t want some business finding a loophole and taking your concept.
Trademark law is a bit complicated, especially when it goes beyond borders and travels all over the world. This is why it is crucial to do two things: perform a trademark search and hire a trademark attorney that specializes in this area. If you complete these two tasks, then you won’t need to worry about violating someone else’s trademark or having your trademark violated.