Business owners and entrepreneurs alike should understand the importance of holding a federal trademark registration for a service or product. Not only is a registered trademark on the federal principal register an extremely valuable asset, the protections afforded by a registered trademark are of paramount importance to maintaining brand image in connection with a service or product.
One of the hallmarks of US trademark law is that no trademark should be permitted in the marketplace if its co-existence with another similar or identical trademark will confuse the public into believing the services or goods of both trademarks derive from the same business or source. Therefore, when a business owner or entrepreneur launches a new services or product in the marketplace, it is critical to first have a comprehensive state and federal trademark search performed to confirm whether the proposed trademark and/or designs are available for use.
A common misconception or mistake for many new business owners and entrepreneurs when determining whether their proposed trademark is available for use is that if their trademark differs by just a little when a competing trademark, it is available for use. This is simply not the case. It should be highlighted that a competing trademark, whether a word mark or design mark, only needs to be a similarity in its overall compression and the channels of trade in which the services or products will travel to be infringing. Another common misconception or mistake new business owners and entrepreneurs make in determining whether their proposed trademark is available for use is that if trademarks that are similar or identical cannot exist in different marketplaces. This is also simply not the case. Two similar or identical trademarks may exist in different marketplaces if they do not travel in similar or identical channels of trade.
Many factors should be addressed in making a legal determination of whether or not competing trademarks are confusingly similar, but chief among them is whether an average (as opposed to sophisticated) consumer would be confused as to the source (the business or entrepreneur offering the service or manufacturing the product) of the service or product. This is a fairly low threshold and thus it is often difficult in making that legal determination. For that reason, seeking trademarks that are as distinct from all other trademarks in the industry classification is always suggested. In fact, arbitrary or inventive trademark registrations are always afforded the broadest scope of trademark protections.
A trademark registration held on the Principal Register provides many trademark protections to business owners and entrepreneurs by providing the exclusive right to use the trademark. Trademark registration also provides the owner the ability to seek court enforcement of infringing trademarks. Trademark registration give you a presumption of validity. It also creates nationwide protection as well as the ability to register your trademark internationally, which is the biggest advantage of filing your trademark with the USPTO. Acquiring a federal trademark registration is critically important for any brand or business. Trademark laws protect names, logos, designs, and other marketing devices that identify a product or service of a particular source from those of others.
Please contact our Charleston trademark attorneys to determine whether your proposed trademark is available for use. We provide flat fee comprehensive trademark search services with a three business day turnaround. And if you proposed trademark is available for use, we also provide flat fee trademark registrations services.