Trademark Monitoring - Protecting Your Idea

Trademark Monitoring - Protecting Your Idea

As a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, are you completely confident that your assets and ideas are protected from any possible infringement? A lack of protection could eventually result in extensive legal battles that could leave you bankrupt, even if you do end up winning in the end. Below are a few tips for protecting your assets.

Due Diligence: When launching a new brand, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are not infringing on something that has already been done. The only way to ensure that your brand is secure is to complete the necessary research to determine whether or not your idea already exists. According to Cornell University, “Almost any word, name, symbol, or device capable of distinguishing the source of goods may be used as a trademark subject to few limitations. However, eligibility for trademark protection may be limited by application of the functionality doctrine, and a mark may be denied registration if it falls within any of the categories listed under statute 15 U.S.C 1052.” It’s critical that you do your research to understand the codes and standards in existence prior to proceeding.

Build a Brand: If you have built a solid foundation and you’re sure that your trademark is unique, you need to make sure that you are protected. Building a brand is the best way to do this, as well-known brands are much harder to successfully copy. This is of course easier said than done. It requires a great deal of effort, hard work, long hours and dedication to launch a brand. And even more work to build a team of professionals who are as dedicated to the success of your company as you are.

Registering for a Trademark: It is relatively easy (and cheap) to register for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and it is the best way to protect your brand. In general, there are two requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for your brand or company to qualify for trademark protection. The first requirement is that it must be a brand or product that is in use. Meaning it’s already available in commerce. There are statutes that support this, but the basic reasoning is that the U.S Patent and Trademark office issues trademarks and patents with the idea that someone is actually intending on developing their brand, sell their product, and add to the economic growth of our nation. What they are trying to avoid is having individuals from becoming patent hoarders and secure patents and trademarks with zero intention of ever even trying to create a viable business model. Secondly, the trademark must be distinctive. Your goal is to set yourself apart from the competition anyway, so keep that in mind when developing your brand and every aspect from the logo, to business cards, signage and merchandise. Make your mark! Then get it trademarked!

Be Aware: Look out for your own best interests and monitor your competitors closely to watch out for any infringement. If you see anything wrong, don’t be afraid to take action immediately. Once you have come up with a good idea, you must protect it. In addition to building a brand, you need to trademark your idea and carefully watch your competitors and being diligent will pay off in the long run. Your competition may very well copy you, just be sure that you are aggressively promoting your brand so your target demographic doesn’t forget who came up with the concept first!

Bottom Line:
Securing a trademark or patent is simply good business. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can move forward with the confidence that you are well protected.

Disclaimer: This article is simply meant to provide advice and is by no means a form of legal counsel.