Successfully navigating the world of trademarks means ensuring that all the fine details and forms are correctly submitted in order to protect your brand. By following a diligent and methodical process, you can take the necessary steps to register and protect your new brand. This will give your business legal backing for its identity and safeguard the investment you make in your brand for years to come. Failure to protect your brand by means of trademark registration, while not fatal, can limit opportunity and revenues. Protect your brand from its inception and reap the rewards over its lifetime.
Brand protection - Trademark vs. Company Registration
Even if you use your brand in the commercial name of your business, registering your business name on a commercial register is not the same thing as registering your trademark and may only prevent others from registering exactly the same name. While you are not required to register your trademark, the best way to protect your brand is through registration which offers wide protection including protection of your logo.
Trademark registration gives your business the right to be the sole user of what is registered. Taking the necessary steps to obtain a trademark also has the benefit of making sure that someone else does not already have a trademark that could conflict with your brand. For instance, if you spend time and money creating the perfect name and logo for your brand and have it placed on merchandise and marketing materials, someone who has a conflicting trademark could stop you from using everything you have invested in.
One of the most common mistakes of an entrepreneur and some owners of well-established businesses is to confuse trademark registration with the commercial registration of the company. Just because you have registered your company name does not mean that you have a right to use the name on products or services. For that you need a trademark which means checking with the Trademark Office that there are no conflicting trademarks already registered and only then filing the correct paperwork to secure the exclusive rights to promote your brand.
How to Register Your New Brand
- Start by searching the Register of Trademarks in the categories required. This is a skilled task and best carried out by an expert who knows how to determine if prior trademarks might conflict. Sometimes results can be returned within a day, though most searches take several business days to complete. Once you have confirmed that your brand can be registered, you can proceed to step two.
- Submit a properly completed trademark application to your local Trademark Office who will examine your application. If accepted, your application will be sent forward for publication so that any one who wishes to object can do so. This may take up to four months.
- Assuming everything goes smoothly, the entire process may take six to twelve months to complete. Once your trademark is registered your brand will have legal protection. Your trademark will become a business asset that can be licensed or sold and provides legal backing for the commercial value of your brand. Your trademark will need to be renewed periodically, usually every 10 years, and can continue indefinitely. So, it’s a good idea to make a note of the next renewal date and be sure to submit the required forms in good time so that your trademark does not expire.