Time and time again, I come across individuals looking to act upon their entrepreneurship aspirations through the capitalization of their brand, name, or image relating to a specific good or service. Typically, the conversation begins with an explanation about their specific product or brand and how it will revolutionize the marketplace, or help advance the individual’s personal career. Throughout the breakdown, it becomes clear that the person has gone through painstaking research and development to ensure that he or she will be able to make the idea a reality – the person has already figured out the brand/business name, how to manufacture, advertise, and promote the idea, and the specific avenues through which everything will take place. Yet, more times than not, the answer to the following question is not addressed – “What have you done to protect your brand?”
Why Apply For Trademark Protection?
It’s not that individuals fail to see the value in ensuring the protection of their brand, but most of the time they believe they have protected it via other means, such as, for example, including the brand in their business name. However, that does not provide the full scale of protection necessary to give others notice of the brand’s existence, or you the ability to demand that they immediately cease and desist using the mark with the same or similar goods or services. Trademark registration provides you with a wide range of federal rights, one of which is that, as the recognized owner of the mark, you have the exclusive right to use the mark in commerce with the goods and services associated with your product or brand.
A common misunderstanding is that you must be actively using your mark at the time of application. However, so long as you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in the foreseeable future, you are welcome to apply, and it is very important that you do; otherwise, you risk the situation of another person stumbling upon your million-dollar idea and making it his or her own.
Should I Apply for Trademark Protection?
If you have a product, business, social media brand, or are looking to monetize your name or image in any way possible – YES! Trademarks are not only for big businesses, and many times serve as the first step to guaranteeing a start-up’s viability and long-term success.
Individuals should also not hold back; in the age of social media, individual brand protection can be the first step to verifying yourself on various platforms while also preventing others from stealing your persona. Don’t get caught up in chasing a viral moment without making sure you are protected; should you succeed, there are sure to be others looking to benefit from your work and creativity. As once wisely stated, “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man,” and any and all steps should be taken in order to maximize your full investment.