The intellectual property of your business is a valuable asset, and deserves the same protections as your other important business assets. A small business typically invests a considerable amount of time, effort, and money towards developing a unique name and logo for their organization. Those resources could go to waste, and the reputation and market for a particular business all could be in jeopardy if a competitor decides to use the same or similar logo or name. What kind of confusion would it cause to the customers of a small business if a competing business set up a web-site or store that mimics your exact business? How would the bottom line of a business be affected by this type of scenario? And most importantly, what rights does a business owner have to prevent this type of activity?
A Federally registered trademark is the best method to restrict competition, former employees, vendors, independent contractors, and other parties from misusing your valuable name and logo for their own financial gain. A trademark also prevents these organizations and individuals from profiting at the expense of your business. A trademark is typically a visual representation, such as a design, logo, emblem, picture, or image that is associated with a business name, product or service. A trademark allows a business to distinguish itself from its competition by providing it with a unique means of identification and brand identity.
Applying for trademark protection is the best method to provide protection of your mark pursuant to Federal law. As soon as you file an application for trademark registration, you have the exclusive right to use your mark across the United States, and, upon approval of your application and Registration, your business will enjoy all the Federal rights and protections of a Registered ® trademark. These rights include the ability to file a lawsuit for trademark infringement in Federal Court (United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts), which will allow you to recover damages (including lost profits and the infringer's unfair gains), legal fees and costs. You may also serve a cease and desist demand on any infringer and use the Registered trademark symbol to provide notice to any party that your mark is protected. Your trade mark will also further your claim and demand to exclude any other entity or person from using your mark since you will be able to prove ownership and use of those marks. How do you intend to prove that you own a particular mark and used it prior to a competitor if you have not registered your mark?
In this instance, the costs and benefits of retaining an intellectual property attorney outweigh the small cost of applying to register your mark. The trademark process is not simply filing forms and paying a fee. There is a substantial amount of due diligence that must occur prior to the filing of an application, then there is the technical application process itself along with subsequent filing requirement to ensure that your mark is protected throughout the life cycle of your business. Attorney Stefan Cencarik, a small business lawyer in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, is able to assist with any intellectual property legal needs, including trademark or servicemark registration.