Intellectual property rights are some of the most important assets your business has. If you’ve developed a new product, a patent can help protect your invention and allows you to seek compensation if someone else steals your idea. If you have a definable logo, brand, business name or catchphrase, a trademark is one way you can protect that specific entity.
Does My Business Need a Trademark or Patent?
Although you have the option of not pursuing a patent or trademark, even if you develop a new catchphrase or an invention, it may be good idea. If you want to make secondary income with an invention by licensing it, for example, you will want to patent it. If you hope to eventually take a product you’ve invented to an international or national market, a patent offers you more protection.
If you have a unique brand name, logo or design, a trademark can be an important way of protecting your company. Without a trademark, any other business can use that same idea without seeking permission from you. Your unique design associated with your business and your brand may be used by an entity you do not approve of. A trademark allows you to pursue compensation from any organization that tries something like this.
A trademark also ensures you have the basis to claim ownership of your phrase, logo or design, which makes licensing easier.
Should I Apply for a Trademark or Patent?
You can apply for patent or trademark yourself, but it's a good idea if you speak with an intellectual property attorney. An attorney can help you through the registration process and can explain the steps you need to take to protect your trademark or patent.
The reality with intellectual property is that simply registering your invention or business name is not enough. You also need to proactively protect it from anyone with intentions of infringing on your rights. Failure to protect your intellectual property rights can mean you lose the right to your trademark or patented idea.
When Should I Trademark My Business Name?
In general, you will want to trademark your business name as quickly as possible. The sooner you trademark your name, the less likely it is that someone else will start using it. A good time to trademark your name is when you purchase your domain name and register your business. When you’ve chosen a legal structure for your business and have registered it, you can trademark your business name simultaneously.
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