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Do I need to register for trademark protection?

Trademarks are visual symbols or words that are used to represent a company and the services or goods it offers. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a trademark as a "word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof," that marks businesses' goods as unique to them and distinguishable from competitors.

Therefore it is of prime importance that a company protects their trademark(s). This blog is intended to offer a brief introduction to when it is necessary to register for trademark protection, and any steps that you may need to take in order to protect your trademark.

Trademarks are protected purely through use

Rights are gained automatically when an entity has shown proper use of a trademark in every day practice. This is most often referred to as "common law" trademark rights. This is usually enough to deter other businesses from seeking to copy or misuse a trademark that you use. However the problem that can occur is when two companies are using the same trademark and both claim "common law" rights.

Reasons to register your trademark

It is this potential dispute in "common law" rights that can make it a good idea for companies to formally register their trademark. As well as giving legal rights to the exclusive use of the trademark in the U.S., it can also act as a deterrent against others using the mark, and can create a good foundation from which to register trademarks in other companies.

This blog is just a summary of trademark law. It is important to seek legal guidance in order to make the best choices going forward.

Source: FindLaw, "Trademark Protection By Use or By Registration," accessed July 07, 2017

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