Some individuals, particularly those who are using their own names as their business name oftentimes trademark a name to protect it from being used by others for purposes of profit. In fact, there are many famous personalities using the trademark law to protect their names against unauthorized usage in any medium. This gives them the legal ascendancy over the use of their names by some business entities who wanted to make it appear that these famous personalities are endorsing their products.
Trademark law, which has been designed to prevent confusion between particular goods or services by identifying the source of the trademark, also allows an individual to recover a domain name that contained their trademark. A lot of professionals, from clothes designers to architects, also use their own names to label their products. Under these circumstances, the need to trademark a name is of primary importance.
What is in a Name Anyway?
The name of your business, or that of your products or services, can spell success for your business. Some of the biggest brands in the business world, from perfumes to clothes and cars, were named after a real person. If your business, or its products and services, carries your own name, then it would be a prudent move to have it registered with the United States Patent and Trademark office, lest someone may try to register it ahead of you. Once it happens, it might be difficult for you to market goods or services under the same name.
How to Trademark a Name
In the United States, there are two types of Trademarks that are commonly used by individuals and businesses. One is the “TM” or ™ mark which can be used by anyone. If a conflict arises in the use of a mark, it is usually resolved by the courts, with the one who was able to use the mark at the earliest time winning the case.
This legal conflict may, however, be averted if such mark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once it is awarded to a company, that business entity would now have the sole legal right to use that mark. That company is also authorized to append the symbol “®” to the mark, which means that such trademark is legally registered with the Patent and Trademark Office.
The process may be a little bit difficult for first time applicants, which is why it would be a prudent move on their part to obtain the services of a lawyer when trying to obtain a registered mark. If you plan to register your trademark, some of the things that you might want to do are the following:
- Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office to learn all there is to know about trademarks.
- Use their Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS, to see if someone is already using the trademark that you have in mind.
- Download their application form and apply online. If the mark that you have in mind is not registered in the Patent and Trademark Office database, then it is possible to use that mark in your commercial activities, appended by the “TM” mark. Once your application is approved, you can already append the symbol “®” after your company’s official mark.
Advantages of the “®” Mark
The “®” mark offers a lot of advantages. You can already assert your right in using your particular company mark or phrase. This is most beneficial in cases where you wanted to use your official company mark or phrase in an Internet domain name and you discovered someone already using it.
Armed with the proof of ownership of such trademark, you can file a complaint with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to inform the entity using such mark to cease and desist from using your mark.
So you see, there a lot of benefits you and your company can gain when you trademark a name. Not only will it provide you great prestige, it will also protect you against cyber-squatters who are now proliferating the Internet.