Let’s start with some basics for getting your trademark registered.
A trademark is a type of intellectual property protection separate from copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. It can be a word, design, logo, slogan/tag line that identifies the source of goods or services. Registered Trademarks are different from registered copyrights which protect the expression of an original work; registered patents which protect inventions; and unregistered trade secrets which protect confidential business information. (Check out the difference between trademarks and service marks).
You can federally register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But why bother? Well, registering trademarks gives you a bunch of federal rights and benefits.
The Benefits of a Registered Trademark
- Exclusive ownership rights to your mark in the U.S.
- Protection from infringers and the ability to send cease & desist letters or bring a federal suit.
- Save $$$ from having to litigate the use of your brand. Save $$$ from having to rebrand because of multiple users.
- The right to recover statutory damages from the infringer – up to $100,000 per counterfeit mark.
- The right to recover your attorney’s fees from the infringer.
- The right to use ®️
It’s important to note that ™️ and ®️ are not the same. The use of ®️ indicates a federally registered mark. The use of ™️ however, means that the mark has not been registered yet with the USPTO (an application could or could not be pending). It does not have the same ownership protection.