You’ve worked hard on your unique brand identity. You have a great name for your business or service offering. Had the perfect logo designed that is unique and memorable. Your brand is now a valuable asset for your business.
Many businesses don’t understand the value of registering a trademark for your identifiable assets, but doing so allows you to protect your brand in the event someone infringes on your mark.
The definition of a trademark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Trademarks identify a product, service, person or thing from others in the same field to avoid confusion and to separate your business from all the others.
You can establish rights based on use of the mark in commerce without a registration. But there are benefits to owning a federal trademark registration:
- Provides greater protection for your most valuable asset – your company name and/or logo;
- Grants you as the owner, nationwide right to use its mark in areas where you are not currently doing business;
- Allows you to use the registered trademark symbol, telling the world that you value and will protect your intellectual property rights;
- Eliminates the likelihood of confusion in the market by one of your competitors using the same or a similar trademark on potentially competing products.
In addition, when Facebook enabled page owners to get a user name for their Facebook business pages, a registered trademark owner was able to notify Facebook with their trademark information to prevent others from taking it. In my case, Facebook applied Masterful Marketing to my page automatically.
A Valuable Lesson
I began using Masterful Marketing® as a brand in October 2007 and filed for registration in December of 2007. I went through the process because my brand is unique and important to my marketing efforts. Never did I realize how important that registration was until recently.
Not long after I received my trademark, I did a web search for Masterful Marketing. I quickly discovered that another marketing coach launched a newsletter named Masterful Marketing! I immediately checked whether this was a violation of my trademark and found out that it was. My attorney contacted the other marketing company with a letter explaining that they were infringing on my trademark. They quickly apologized and are in the process of changing the name of their newsletter.
Using Masterful Marketing as the name of their newsletter was an infringement on my trademark that would have caused confusion in the market for those who recognize my brand. Because the mark is registered, we were able to easily prevent an issue with someone else using the mark for a similar product or service.
The Marketing Lesson
- Never use a name without doing your homework! Research its use and check for trademarks before you invest in it.
- Protect your name so that you can stop others from infringing upon your rights. Going through the trademark process is easy and the legal fees are well worth it.
Have you registered a trademark for your brand?