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Whether you are a small business owner or the CEO of a larger corporation, you are most likely concerned with protecting your company’s brand. A trademark is used to represent a company, idea or product through use of an emblem, logo, symbol or sign. Although you are not required to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there may be benefits to doing so. 

Before you register your trademark, you must ensure that it has not already been registered. You can search through the trademark database for similar marks. Once you have ascertained that the mark is not being used by another company or product, you can begin the registration process. Registering your trademark gives you sole ownership of the brand, name, logo or emblem. If anyone else uses your trademarked symbol once it is registered, you can file a case of trademark infringement. Infringement occurs when another company or brand uses your registered trademark, and as a result, potential customers or clients could mistakenly buy the other brand thinking that they are purchasing your product. 

When other companies see the registered trademark symbol after your brand, name or sign, they may be deterred from using a symbol that could be mistaken for yours. Furthermore, registered trademarks can be transferred. If you choose not to register your trademark, it is known as a common law trademark. While you still have rights and protection under the USPTO, you may find it beneficial to go through the registration process. 

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.