A small business owner knows the necessity of protecting their growing business. It includes securing intangible assets like logos, identity symbols, etc., among other things. A federal trademark registration process with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can help you achieve that.
Federal trademark registration is the first step to legally protecting your brand. The firm requires a proactive approach to defending and protecting the trademark from infringement and keeping its protection active.
Thus, to maintain, use, and protect a federal trademark, businesses must consider the following dos and don’ts:
Some Do’s & Don’t To Maintain & Protect Your Federal Trademark
Do: Remember The Trademark Renewal Dates
Keeping the federal trademark registration active requires businesses to renew it. The USPTO sends one email reminder about the approaching deadline. The trademark holder must stay diligent in tracking renewal dates and filing appropriate renewal paperwork through a federal trademark attorney.
When the trademark holder misses the deadline, they can pay additional fees to renew within six months. However, the holder loses their federal priority, and the trademark gets canceled after six months. They would need to undergo the entire federal trademark registration process again to register it.
Thus, after receiving the trademark registration, you must note all the renewal dates in the calendar to avoid missing them:
- The first renewal becomes due five years after the initial registration date.
- A second renewal comes nine years after the initial registration date.
- The subsequent renewal date will become due every ten years after the second renewal.
Don’t Use The Incorrect Trademark Symbol
Businesses use a small ™ symbol while their trademark registration application undergoes processing with the USPTO. But after registration, the small ™ symbol converts to a small-circled ®, indicating registration with the USPTO.
Thus, businesses must use the correct trademark symbol whenever their trademark appears. It includes online profiles, websites, marketing/ advertising copy, art, product labeling, packaging, etc. Ensuring consistency in trademark symbols provides the rights and access to damages in case of infringement issues.
Do: Know The New Trademark Filings
A trademark similar to yours can weaken the overall identity of your brand. It is the registered trademark owner’s right and responsibility to monitor new filings and raise objections against new trademarks infringing their current mark.
Working with a federal trademark attorney can help monitor new filings and lay down the procedure to object to a potentially infringing trademark under USPTO consideration.
Don’t: Forget To Lookout For Competition
Infringement begins when other businesses start using your trademark before registration. Thus, scanning the marketplace for such instances is critical to identifying potential copycats.
The same or a similar-looking/sounding trademark name or logo of a competitor can jeopardize your future. Failing to take action against such businesses can lead you to explain the reasons for the failure to enforce your trademark rights. A trademark attorney can be valuable in such situations.
Registering trademarks adds value and separates business identity. Businesses must do adequate research while choosing a particular trademark. In addition, the trademark must cover their current goods and services and potential expansions.
Using it consistently everywhere is critical to enforcing trademark rights. Businesses must consult an attorney for trademark registration, infringement, and enforcement of rights. Experienced attorneys can also guide you post-registration to maintain and protect its validity.