How to Protect Your Trademark in 4 Essential Steps
Intellectual property rights are a crucial component of the operations of every significant business. It is especially so of trademarks. Fighting to protect your trademark is an arduous task. It might take years in court and will cost you a ton of money in the process. It could lead you to changing your entire business strategy.
Protecting your trademark is a continual process that requires a lot of vigilance. Many companies do not effectively protect their trademarks which leaves them very vulnerable to infringements. There might also be cases for a rejected trademark, so it’s efficient to start the process as soon as possible.
You do not have to hire a team to monitor reports every waking minute for you to protect your trademark. The following are four steps you can take to ensure that your trademark is protected:
Step 1: Register All That Is Related to Your Trademark
The first step should be ensuring that the trademark is defendable. You may take action to protect it only to realize that it has already been lost.
Therefore, you should ensure there is no confusion about the trademark with another brand. After you are completely certain, you should register everything that is related to your trademark.
There is much associated with your trademark and it is usually more than most companies think. It may include your company logo, motto or slogan, products and services among others.
You should make a comprehensive list of anything that references your trademark and register them. Registering your trademarks stops any individual or entity from grabbing them from under you.
You should also register any ideas that you think will be useful in the future. By registering them now, you will be assured that you can have access to them later.
You should keep the registration hidden from your competitors. Otherwise, they will try and grab those elements you have not already registered.
Step 2: Register Your Social Names or Handles
Social media is an indispensable tool for any business in the modern age. They are especially useful for digital marketing which is the main source of revenue for most businesses.
It is a big bother to not have the ability to have social media profiles with your business name on them. If your social media handles are similar to another’s a customer may head over to a competitor instead of you. If a competitor infringes on your trademark, it may be necessary to contact trademark infringement attorneys. They will help you deal with the case and maintain your trademark.
Online account profiles where you should absolutely register include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.
By registering your social media names, you maintain the right to use them for a specific period. You should do the same for any brand or product for whom you would like to run a separate social media profile.
Step 3: Update Your Registration
You will then have to ensure that your trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is updated. You have to actively ensure that they are updated because the USPTO will not remind you to send in the documents.
You are required to update the documents for a trademark every five or six years. If you do not update the documentation within the stipulated time frame then your trademark could be canceled or lost to another entity.
The USPTO may not warn you about the expiry of your trademark documentation but they may prevent other similar trademarks from being registered by other parties. Though it may be of great assistance, it is ultimately up to you to ensure that the documentation is in perfect order.
Step 4: Constantly Monitor Your Trademarks
You would assume that companies that have an obvious vested interest in their trademarks would be vigilant about protecting them. However, there are surprisingly many companies that pay little to no attention to their trademarks.
Other companies pay scores of employees to monitor reports about copyright infringements. Considering that 90% of these reports are simply junk, a lot of manpower is wasted that would otherwise be used constructively.
On the other hand, other companies only monitor their most important trademarks and leave the rest to collect cobwebs in a drawer or cabinet. That may be a good strategy up until a trademark is infringed.
You should use various tools that will make monitoring your trademarks a whole lot easier than employing many people to do it. Otherwise, you may easily lose both valuable and peripheral trademarks.
The four steps above are essential if you are to protect your trademarks and continue enjoying the benefits that they afford your business. Constant vigilance is the name of the game and if any documentation update is necessary, you should act promptly. If you can follow the steps above, your trademarks should be well protected from infringement.