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Trademark Mistake #2

You don’t have a registration

The power of a trademark registration

Protecting your brand with stronger trademark rights

With so many businesses being created, it’s becoming even more critical that you understand *how* to keep your brand protected.

And while you do get automatic trademark rights just by using your business name, those automatic protections are really limited.

Earlier I teased how awesome this trademark registration is. So let’s get into it.

First of all — it’s totally okay if you don’t have a registration in place. Technically speaking, it’s not necessary.

But you do need to understand the benefits of a registration — and also the risks of not having registrations in place.

TM vs ® : a house and a fence

Here’s how trademark laws work in a nutshell: the first to use a trademark in interstate commerce has the strongest rights.

So what does a registration do? Well, a trademark registration doesn’t actually create your rights (again, that happens automatically). Instead, it acts as evidence of the rights you already have.

Think about it this way. Imagine you have a house and a fence.

The house is your trademark. Just by running your business and selling your stuff, you’ve built this house. That’s your automatic trademark rights.

The registration is your fence. Without the fence, your house isn’t protected.

That’s how trademark registration work. They help protect what you’ve already built.

Trademark registrations are awesome.

When you secure a trademark registration, you get to enjoy some pretty amazing benefits. Here are the big ones you should know about.

  • A trademark registration provides official documentation that you have nation-wide exclusive rights to the trademark. This gives you as the business owner a “legal presumption” of ownership to your trademark.
  • Your registered status appears on the trademark office database, which puts other business owners on notice of your rights and helps deter them from using something similar.
  • You get to use the ® symbol (®) next to your trademark, which lets everyone know that you have secured strong protections to your brand (and just looks legit).
  • The nation-wide protection that you get from a registration will really help you out and give you a stronger case if a dispute ever arises with another company.
  • Registrations mean a lot to online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, iTunes, and Amazon. If a trademark dispute arises online and you can point to a registration to show proof of ownership, the website is far more likely to take your side in the dispute.

Take a close look at this chart below.  More people are applying for registrations than ever before.

(This table appears in the USPTO 2018 Performance and Accountability Report.)

Why this registration stuff matters.

A trademark registration puts a foundational but powerful lawyer of protection in place that acts as proof that you own your trademark.

Now that you understand how a trademark registration can help YOUR BUSINESS, it’s time to talk about why you need to respect OTHER BUSINESSES. And even if you’re not ready to register your own trademarks yet, you need to take the registrations of other businesses very seriously.

Not respecting the trademark rights of other businesses can have big, serious consequences.  Let me show you why in the next page.