Many small businesses try to register their trademarks independently. While this may work in some circumstances, small businesses keep repeating certain mistakes when searching for available trademarks. To ensure you start your business the right way, here are 5 small business trademark mistakes to avoid.
5 Small Business Trademark Mistakes To Avoid
Every business including yours has to start somewhere. That’s why it’s crucial to protect your business with a distinctive trademark. If you don’t, you may not profit from its future value. Avoid these common mistakes small businesses make when getting a trademark.
Not Using the Trademark in Business
Although a business does not need to register a trademark, it should apply for one to protect it. However, a company should use the trademark in business in connection with certain services and products before applying for a trademark.
If a company doesn’t use the trademark in business before making the application, it should file for an Intent-to-Use application expressing its intent to use the trademark in business later on. Note that the trademark registration process won’t begin until you start using the trademark in business.
Once the trademark is used in business, your company can file a statement of use (a report showing how the trademark is being used in commerce). Keep in mind that you have up to 3 years to file a statement of use.
Not Enforcing Trademark Protection
It’s crucial to enforce the trademarks of your business. While the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) ensures no business infringes on another business’s trademark, you are required to take legal action against the offending party.
If another company infringes on your trademark, this can result in expensive legal proceedings, as well as losing your trademark rights. Also, a company’s mistake can delay the trademark registration process, leading to the revocation or cancellation of your trademark rights. That’s why you need to create a strategy to protect your trademark.
Not Searching the Trademark Filing Database Thoroughly
The USPTO advises business owners to search its trademark filing database, including canceled or abandoned trademark registrations for similar trademarks that are already in use, have been applied for, or have been already registered.
When it comes to trademark law, the business that uses the trademark first on its products owns it. Failing to search thoroughly, can cause serious consequences if the trademark is in use. Also, remember to search and clear tag lines because they are enforceable trademarks.
Not Monitoring Your Application Status
The USPTO may send you an Office action (a document explaining problems with your trademark application) during the registration process. The document includes details about when and how you should respond to solve the problem.
To track the status of your application, use the Trademark Status Retrieval System. The application can be canceled or abandoned if you fail to respond within 6 months after issuance. Unfortunately, additional fees may be required to resume the process.
Not Securing Your Domain Name
Once another business registers their domain name or creates their social media profiles using your trademark, stopping them can be costly and time-consuming. It can also be hard to enforce the trademark. Imagine if they begin publishing content using social media profiles or a domain that matches your trademark
If the content confuses your customers or is inappropriate, you may lose business. It can also impact your business negatively and ruin your reputation in the market. To avoid this problem, think of possible breaches and acquire all your social media profiles plus domain names as soon as possible.
It’s essential to understand trademark law while registering your trademark to avoid making mistakes. If you are unsure, consult an experienced trademark lawyer to walk you through the registration process.