Trademark Mistake #4
You don’t take action
Don’t procrastinate on trademarks
We’ve talked about some of the biggest mistakes business owners make when it comes to trademarks:
But there’s one more mistake I wanted to highlight. And this is really the biggest one. If you avoid the three mistakes above but miss this last one, then none of this really matters.
The biggest mistake is you don’t take action.
If you get this far in learning about trademarks and then decide to wait until later, you’re taking a huge risk.
On the last page I talked about the importance of running a strong trademark search. This is critical to ensure that you’re not infringing on any one else’s trademark rights and that you have a strong claim to your own trademark rights.
But here’s the thing … that search you run — it has an *immediate* expiration date.
Someone could apply for a trademark similar to yours the minute after you run your search.
I’ve seen this nightmare situation play out with my own clients. And with so many businesses starting and building brands right now, there’s a pretty big risk it could happen to you, too.
Okay. Here is where things get particularly complicated. Remember: your trademark rights are created when you start using the trademark in commerce. An application or registration doesn’t create the rights for you. It’s the first to use that has the strongest rights, not the first to file.
But practically speaking, it’s expensive and a pain in the butt to make first-use arguments to another business that files their application first.
This might not seem like a huge risk now. I get it. But as your business grows, your brand is going to become an increasingly valuable asset. And the last thing you want to hear when business is booming is that someone else is claiming they own your brand and is demanding that you rebrand.
A trademark registration is becoming a cost of doing business.
Due to the risks involved, more business owners are seeing trademark registrations as a cost of doing business. This is the next level version of securing similar domain names to keep a competitor from blocking you.
The real cost of a rebrand
You might be saying:
“This is all helpful Joey, but honestly … if I was forced to rebrand … it would suck but I’d rather take that risk than invest in trademark protections right now.”
Fair enough. The timing isn’t right for everyone. But having helped businesses rebrand due to trademark disputes, let me just give you an inside look into the real cost of a rebrand. You’re probably gonna have to do all of this . . .
- Coming up with new potential names and deciding which one to go with
- Securing new domain names and social media handles
- Migrating all of your emails, files, and logins to the new emails
- Getting a new LLC, corporation, etc. or changing the name of an existing one
- Updating the IRS, your bank, local and state authorities, and others about the name change
- Having a rebrand campaign with your followers and clients to make them aware of the change
- Getting new logos, business cards, letterhead, and maybe even rethinking your brand identity and brand colors
- Making sure all of the links on your website are pointing to this new domain instead of the old one
- Reaching back to everyone who featured you on an article, podcast, guest blog, conference, or even social media post and requesting that they update their language and links to reflect your new brand
- Securing a trademark registration for this new name so you’ll never have to do this again
- And doing this all in under a month because that was the terms of a cease and desist letter you received
So just be careful here. A little bit of proactive thinking and planning can give you a heck of a lot of peace of mind down the road.
Alright Joey. But what does applying for a trademark registration actually look like? How long does this all take?
Great question. I’ve included an infographic below to help you visualize it. In short, the application process can take anywhere from 6-18 months or more … but with the right strategy and guidance we hope to keep it in the 6-ish month range.
Like I said, you might not NEED a registration right now. And if we hopped on a call right now and I learned more about your situation, I might even advise you NOT to apply.
I really do just want you to feel educated on this stuff so that you can make an informed decision that’s right for YOUR business needs.
In today’s entrepreneurial world, you just can’t afford to ignore the importance of trademark rights. Building your brand with confidence really does require a foundation of trademark protections in place.
If you’re ready to take action to reap the benefits of a trademark registration, fill out the short form below. Our team is standing by to get started or answer any questions you may have.
Ready to protect your trademarks?
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