Launching a New Venture in 2023? Here’s What You Might Need to Know About Trademarks
Launching a New Venture in 2023
A lot of paperwork is involved in setting up a new venture, such as business registration forms, partnership agreements or corporation documentation, supplier agreements, employee contracts, and more. However, one area many new entrepreneurs don’t consider carefully enough is intellectual property (IP). In particular, many businesses benefit from obtaining trademarks. Here’s what you need to know about this area to help protect your future venture.
A trademark is a type of IP that people use to distinguish their business and what it sells from the goods or services of other businesses. Many different things can be protected by trademarks, such as brand and product names, logos, phrases, domain names, words, pictures, shapes, smells, sounds, and packaging.
Trademarks are a popular type of intellectual property since they can help identify and distinguish many goods, services, and brands and help protect ventures from competition trying to copy them. Trademark applications get submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but you must first ensure that the rights of your preferred name, phrase, logo, etc., are available.
Benefits of Using Trademarks
Multiple benefits arise from utilizing trademarks. You will want to do this to stop other individuals or organizations from using your valuable intellectual property. Once you have a trademark in place, anyone searching trademark registries for future signs, marks, names, slogans, and the like will see that you have established rights for your venture in this area and that they must come up with another option as a result.
If people ignore the trademark and infringe on your rights, such as by using a mark of some type that’s very similar to yours in connection with wares covered by your trademark, you’ll have the right to take legal action against them. Another plus of trademarks is that they can help you generate additional income. You can license the use of your name or slogan or other factors to other people or businesses. For instance, you see this idea in place when you buy clothing, toys, board games, or other merchandise with Disney or Marvel names on it.
You might also want to invest in a trademark to enjoy the cachet and added professionalism afforded to your business from the IP. People tend to see trademarks as a sign that an organization is large, solid, well-established, and trustworthy. In turn, you should find that they’re more likely to trust your brand and to purchase from you. If you end up with an iconic trademark (one example is Nike’s “swoosh” graphic), you should also find that this adds significant dollar value to your venture if you try to sell it.
Things to Research
If you’re preparing to launch a new business and think you may need a trademark, it’s time to research. Before settling on a name, slogan, logo, or other identifying company factors, it’s vital to ensure you’re not infringing on an existing trademark. You’ll need to conduct a trademark search to find out what’s already in place and if you can achieve exclusive or non-exclusive rights to a mark.
How to File Paperwork for Trademarks
Once you feel confident that you have found an available trademark, it’s time to file the paperwork to register it with the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can use an online submission system known as TEAS, which stands for the Trademark Electronic Application System. You can submit documents in a physical format, but that way is more expensive.
Also, if you’re unsure how to complete all the steps, you may like to engage the services of a lawyer for trademark registration work. People who work in this area all the time know the ins and outs of it and can assist you in getting the job done quickly and effectively.
Either way, you need to know that you have to include various details in your paperwork, such as the applicant or name of the business owner applying, address details, and a drawing or other representation, as needed, of the identifying factor you wish to trademark. Add a list of the goods and services associated with it and submit your filing fee, too.
Tips for Using Trademarks
It will usually take around 12 to 18 months for your trademark request to be approved, so you’ll need to be patient. Once it’s accepted, you might like to place the appropriate symbol next to your covered marks in all your company documentation, such as your website, packaging, marketing collateral, etc.
Trademarks may feel like a tricky subject to wrap your head around, but there are straightforward steps to follow, and the time, money, and energy you invest in this area of IP can well and truly be worth it in the long run.