It’s an exciting time when your business is starting to come together. Your team and any investors you have are working together and all of the details are being finalized. Potential customers are interested in your product and you’re eager to see all of your work come together. One detail you might be forgetting about in your start up costs is to trademark your product and brand name. When you are first starting out, this might seem like an unnecessary expense that you can go without, or at least wait for until you are more established and have income coming in. Unfortunately, if you wait, you may be making a brand-damaging mistake that you regret as time goes on.
Protecting Your Brand
It may be frustrating, especially if you don’t have a legal background but you should be thinking about trademarks from the beginning. If you don’t consider trademarks while you are workshopping names for your brand and products, you may find out too late that your entire brand is confusingly similar to another company’s or even worse, already in use! This can lead to legal battles you could have avoided if you had considered trademarks from the beginning stages of your business campaign. As soon as you feel confident about what terminology you want to use for your brand, you should begin the process of trademarking your work so you can avoid any legal issues as early as possible. This can save you from a lot of problems and frustration.
The other threat of waiting to register trademarks is that another brand may attempt to use the phrases that you feel are intrinsic to your brand. You may have no legal room to defend yourself if you have not already registered your trademarks. This can ultimately lead to confusion and potentially fruitless legal battles that weaken your brand and cost you more than money in the long run. Your brand may be less recognizable in the long run which can also demoralize your company.
Sooner Than Later
The trademark office requires you to use your trademark within three years of being approved in order to actually obtain an official federal trademark registration. However, additional legal and government fees will be necessary every six months after approval if you are not yet using the brand in commerce. Failure to file the necessary extensions of time prior to use may make you feel pressured to rush your product to market or tempt you into waiting to file until you are ready.
This is almost always a mistake — especially as others may file trademark applications for brands that, while different than yours, are similar enough to prevent you from ever obtaining a federal trademark registration and the significant financial and legal advantages that may accrue with it. Also keep in mind that it takes the trademark office around a year to approve your application- so starting early is probably a great idea if you want your trademark to be in place when you begin selling your product.
Are you feeling overwhelmed at the concept of researching what trademarks are already in use and applying with the trademark office? The Garcia-Zamor legal team can help you with all of your intellectual property legal issues and get you on the right track. You can contact the office today to make sure your business gets started on the right foot.