Your business’s trademark does a lot of work for the company. For this reason, it needs to be strongly protected by law to avoid mix-ups, confusion, and downright theft. Using a Washington D.C. Trademark Attorney to do this is a smart, simple way of protecting a trademark. However, it’s far from being the only option. If you want to make sure no one steals your idea, your website domain, or even your entire business on a mere technicality, here are a few ways you can protect your trademark in the long-term.
Research Your Trademark
Before you settle on a trademarked name for your business, you’ll have to make sure it’s not already taken. While this might seem pretty straightforward, don’t be fooled: It’s entirely possible to take someone else’s trademarked name (or choose something that’s too close for comfort) without even knowing it. That’s why you have to use the search database on the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree. Disputing a trademark is a long and potentially costly process, and you want to stay far away from it if you can.
File Your Application and Register
While you don’t technically have to register your trademark with the USPTO, it’s helpful to do so. If you only file an application and get approved, you’re not legally protected from other businesses that want to cash in on your company name to turn a profit. If you really want to stay protected legally, you have to be able to show receipts. Registering your trademark will serve as a public record to this effect. Even though it might seem like a worst case scenario issue, you don’t want to open yourself up to a court battle that you can’t win even though you’re totally in the right.
Don’t Ignore Oppositions
As a business owner starting out, your MO may be to ignore all kinds of scary-looking government mail from the trademark office. This, however, is a big mistake. If you get an opposition from the USPTO telling you that your trademark is already taken or disputed, you need to act right away. Ignoring the problem won’t help your case, especially if you end up needing to take it to court. Having evidence is crucial in intellectual property cases since they’re notoriously hard to defend. Keep track of everything, including your registration date, your application date, and all internal correspondence related to your trademarking choice.
Keep a Close Watch On Competitors
Even if your business hasn’t left the ground yet, you always need to be savvy about potential thieves and competitors. Having a trademark will help protect you from people looking to bank on your intellectual property. As long as you do frequent web searches for conflicting or uncomfortably close trademarks in the same ballpark, you’ll be able to keep on top of the problem. It might seem tedious to have to check your competitors all the time to make sure they stay in their lane, but you’ll be glad you did in the long run.