Your trademark identifies your company and your products. It’s on your storefront, your letterhead and business card. When your clients see your trademark, they come to expect a certain level of quality. Therefore, you must protect your trademark to ensure that others do not infringe on your business or ruin your reputation.
There are three strategies that you can implement to protect your trademark:
- Use your trademark correctly and consistently.
- Monitor all potential infringements.
- Crack down on companies who trespass upon your trademark turf.
Of course, some trademarks are easier to protect than others. You will have an easier time protecting your trademark if it is unique and suggestive. It can prove impossible to protect a trademark that is generic and common. You want a trademark that creatively conveys the nature of your business. Alternatively, it is easier to protect names that are totally arbitrary or fanciful. For example, naming a computer company after a fruit is arbitrary, yet secure. Making up a fanciful or novel name that didn’t exist before is also a solid strategy.
Once you’ve landed on a suggestive, arbitrary or fanciful trademark, you will have to make sure that no one else is already using it. You can use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website to search for similar registered trademarks. You may even want to hire a company to help you search for similar trademarks.
Now that you have your trademark, you will need to start using it. Display the sign of your trademark and put the registered trademark symbol next to it from time to time. Many companies use the little R in a circle sign half the time and the TM the other half. This will alert others of your trademark and make it clear what is your registered mark.
It can also prove useful to set up Google Alerts to notify you if your trademark is ever mentioned. Misspelled phrases and those similar to yours should be carefully monitored. You may even consider hiring a company to stay abreast of similar trademarks for you. If you feel that your trademark has been infringed upon, do not hesitate to fight back and protect your business with help from an experienced and skilled New York business lawyer.