Businesses spend substantial resources on developing a brand, establishing goodwill with their customers and the general public and differentiating themselves from competitors. A successful business therefore has a strong incentive to protect its identity. That identity may be a name, a logo or some other unique phrase or mark. In many situations, it is not only helpful- it’s vital- that a business take affirmative steps to protect that identity.
One way a business or individual can protect itself is by filing for a trademark, either with the State of North Carolina, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or both. A trademark provides legal protection against others who may attempt to use the mark and benefit from the goodwill and name recognition that comes with it or use the mark in a way that has a negative impact on you or your business.
Some things to consider when deciding whether to file for a trademark and in preparation for filing the application:
- Are you currently using the mark or do you plan to use it in the future?
- Do you want to trademark standard characters or a mark with specific colors, fonts and designs?
- Is any other individual or business using the mark or something similar?
- Who will own the trademark- an individual? A business? A separate legal entity?
- Does your use of the mark infringe on someone else’s existing trademark or prior use?
- Are you prepared to take all necessary steps in the future to protect your mark from others’ use of it?
It is always recommended that you speak with an attorney prior to filing a trademark application, and that you fully understand the legal issues and process that such a filing entails. If you have questions or would like to discuss filing a trademark for yourself or your business, please do not hesitate to contact Vann Attorneys.