Well, a LOT actually. It defines your brand and it’s the basically the handshake of your company.
So, how do you decide if you need a trademark for that super rad name you spent days, months or even years thinking about? Let me help you out.
First, you should consider a trademark if your company’s name has essential value and will be the primary way consumers recognize your brand.
If you plan on selling products or services across the country, a trademark is important because it protects you from other companies essentially copying your brand. It also acts as a consumer protection mechanism, so your customers know they are buying the real deal and obviously, you’re the real deal. Duh.
For example, a pair of basketball shoes with a Nike swoosh represents the Nike brand, whereas another company’s shoes with similar swooshes can be confusing to the consumer and would infringe on Nike’s trademark.
Find Out If the Trademark Is Already Taken. If you’ve chosen a name that you feel you can trademark, it’s essential to do your research and find out if someone else is already using the name you really want.
The best way to start your research is through an online search. Just type in your company name and see what comes up. Chances are you will see your name associated with other businesses, however, those other companies may either not be trademarked or be operating in different industries – leaving the door open for you.
Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets, for example, both have trademarks for the same name but in vastly different industries. There is a very small chance that consumers will confuse the two when either shopping for airlines tickets or plumbing supplies.
If it appears that your name is available, take it to the next level and do a search at https://www.uspto.gov/trademark
If no one else has taken that brand name, you have a good shot at getting your trademark approved. Woohoo!
File for Your Mark. These days you have so many options for filing for your trademark. You can do it yourself, file your application through an online legal service, or hire a lawyer.
The U.S. government fee ranges from $225 to $400, so that will be the base price regardless of the route you choose. Once you file your application, an attorney from the U.S. Patent Office will examine your mark and may call you with questions.
If you don’t have legal expertise, you might want to skip the DIY options and go right to a professional to ensure everything is done correctly so you don’t get hit with big ‘ol sloppy fines.