When you come up with a logo or phrase that you want to be recognised as belonging to your business, that is called a trademark. It is important that you protect your trademark fully and get legal representation in case there are any issues with other people using it. Here are some things to know about trademarks to help you get protection and know what things your brand can use as a trademark.
Trademark is Not the Same as a Copyright
The first thing you should know is that while they are often confused, trademarks and copyrights are not the same thing. With a trademark, it is specifically something you create that identifies your own business or personal brand. This is often a logo you have designed or design yourself, or the tagline or phrase used for your business. With a copyright, it has to do with a creative idea you came up with, but not necessarily something to be related to your business name. You might have written a song or book, or made a unique video for a video streaming site. These things are copyrights. By understanding the difference, you are able to protect them effectively.
Trademark Searches Are Essential
Before you attempt to have an idea you want to claim as your own, you need to make sure nobody else uses it. You might be surprised at how many ideas you assumed were unique, an individual or business has already come up with. You are not searching to see if someone just had the idea, but if they actually registered it. If it's not registered as their own, you still might be able to claim it. Before going to the trademark office to have your idea registered, perform a search. You can do this online or a trademark lawyer can help you with it.
You Need to Register All Your Trademarks
Anything that is considered a trademark for your business or personal brand needs to be registered properly. After you have conducted a search and know that it is not currently registered, you can head to your local trademark office. You will need to fill out an application that shows how you came up with the trademark and explain it with as many details as possible. This is important so that nobody else registers a similar trademark for their own business. You need to pay a fee and wait for the trademark office to approve it.
Getting a Good Attorney is Important
It is helpful to already have an attorney who works with intellectual property law, particularly with trademarks. The attorney will know the laws regarding trademarks, how to perform a search effectively, and how to fill out the application to have it approved. Even after your original logo or phrase is trademarked under your name, it is good to have this attorney who you can go to for any other ideas. They might also be able to help you with other intellectual property issues.