Choosing Your Trademark

Trademarks are a valuable part of a business. Trademarks indicate the source of a good or product. A company producing a reputable good or service, marked by a trademark, is likely to create a feeling of trust by consumers whenever consumers see that mark. The opposite is also true.

Owners of reputable companies using trademarks do not want others using their marks in competition and gaining business by confusing others as to which company produces the good or service. And owners of reputable companies using trademarks do not want others using confusingly similar marks on products and services of poor quality, thereby demolishing the good reputation of the company using the trademark.

Your Mark Must Not Infringe on the Trademark of Another

Registration of trademarks is not necessary, but is helpful in enforcing one’s exclusive right to the use of a mark, and in defending against an alleged trademark violation. It gives the owner of the registered trademark a presumption that the owner has exclusive rights to the mark.

In order to register a trademark, the person using the mark must ensure that he or she is not infringing on the trademark of another. The mark must not be trademarked by another person or entity. Another person may have a trademark in a mark, even if it is not a registered trademark.

Trademark Searches

In order to ensure a person’s mark is not infringing on the trademark of another, a thorough search must be done of the marks currently in use. It is important to hire an experienced person or entity to do this search in order to be sure that the mark isn’t being used in any market or area. An person or entity experienced in conducting trademark searches will also be able to search for similar marks. A person cannot obtain a trademark in a mark if that mark is confusingly similar to another person’s trademark.

A search will also include a search of state and federal trademark offices as well as the world wide web. This is done by searching the same or similar words as those of the mark at issue. However, without hiring an experienced person to do this, you may miss finding a mark and find yourself in an infringement lawsuit in the future. It is a small cost given the risk of establishing yourself as the source of a good or service, with a positive reputation, and then learning you are no longer permitted to use the mark you have established and may owe money damages to another person.

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