If you've been thinking about the need for trademark registration to protect your small business, you may be wondering if the process is worth it. The registration process can be intimidating, and it's often best done with the help of a trademark attorney. Unfortunately, due to the complexity, many business owners opt to skip registration. Here's a look at several reasons why you shouldn't dismiss its importance.
It Expands Your Protection
Using your trademark in business, even without registration, automatically gives you some local protections. That means nobody in your immediate area can infringe on your trademark, and you would have a legal case to address it if someone tried. However, just using the trademark in business doesn't give you protection anywhere else, so if someone in another state has a competing company with a similar name, you have little grounds to do anything about it.
By registering your trademark with the federal trademark office, you will gain those national protections. That gives you the ability to enforce your trademark no matter where in the country the infringing party is located.
You Can Turn To The Federal Courts
When it comes to protecting your trademarks, it's extremely difficult to meet the requirements for federal court filing if those trademarks aren't registered. Instead, you typically have to file those cases in local courts. However, if you've registered your trademarks with the federal government, you gain the right to file infringement suits in federal court.
Your Trademark Becomes Identifiable
Registering your trademark puts it into the national register, which is searchable and accessible everywhere in the country. That makes it visible to trademark application examiners, trademark attorneys, and business owners. This helps reduce the risk of someone using your trademark in business.
There's No Question About Its Validity
If you try to enforce trademark infringement on an unregistered trademark, it's hard for you to prove its validity. You have to be able to prove when you started using it and show that you have the first right to it. Since there are many specific standards that must be met for trademark use to be considered valid, this is sometimes difficult to win if you haven't formally registered it. Once your trademark is registered, though, you have solid documentation of your right to its use and your protection under that registration.
As you can see, there are many good reasons to register your trademark. If you have questions about the process or are unsure about what you need to do it right, talk with a local trademark attorney. You can also visit websites like chabotlaw.com.