Federal Trademark Registrations Are Important to Protect Your Company’s Goodwill and Reputation
A common mistake start-ups and small companies make is that they wait too long to file for federal trademark registrations. In the beginning, they decide they do not want to spend their limited monetary resources to file for trademark registrations when they first have an intent to use or start using a trademark. Instead, they take the “we will do it later when we have more money” approach. This decision, however, overlooks the important role federal trademark registrations play in the development of a new or existing business or a new or existing product line.
Under federal law, a federal trademark registration may be obtained to identify the user’s goods and services, to identify the source of the goods, and to distinguish the goods from the goods manufactured or sold by others. See 15 U.S.C. § 1127; see also 15 U.S.C. § 1052. A company may have multiple trademarks as a trademark may be comprised of “any word, name, symbol, or device, or combination thereof . . . .” 15 U.S.C. § 1127. Companies may seek a trademark registration as early as when they have an intent to use the mark in interstate commerce. See 15 U.S.C. § 1127.
Start-up companies and long-established companies spend large marketing and advertising budgets to develop goodwill and reputation in the names of their products and services. Their reputation and recognition in the names of their products and services is important to their businesses and their success in obtaining repeat customers. A federal trademark registration gives the trademark owner the right to exclude unauthorized users from using any mark that is likely to cause confusion with the trademark owner’s trademark and thus from trading upon the goodwill and reputation in the federal trademark registration. See 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). With competitors in every industry, name recognition means everything. Companies from the outset should seek federal trademark registrations to protect their goodwill and reputation.
If you have any questions about this article or would like more information on how to file for federal trademark registrations please contact me.