1. What Is Trademark Research and Why is it Important?
A trademark is a way to claim your brand’s logo, name, or defining symbols. This distinguishes them as your own, and also keeps them from being used by other companies. While it is not a requirement to trademark your logo or business name, it is highly recommended for your own protection and to eliminate costly trademark disputes in the future. It may seem faster and cheaper to go about creating your brand without spending the time or money to do research beforehand, however this can be an expensive mistake. Not protecting your brand with a trademark is kind of like driving a car without an airbag- while it might be smooth driving for a bit, once there is an issue, you’ll wish you had the protection.
If you have a larger business, a business that is going national, or you are entering into the world of e-commerce, you should definitely take the time to conduct trademark research. This will not only protect you from other companies who may be trying to impersonate your brand, but it will also make sure that the logo and slogans you’ve created are unique and will not create a trademark dispute with another company.
2. Why You Should do Trademark Research on Your Logo (Hint – It Protects Your Brand)
The internet has made graphic design creation “quick and easy” and “just one click away”. However, sometimes this can cause trademark disputes for businesses who are taking the fast approach to creation instead of making a one-of-a-kind logo. For example, websites like Wix and Fiverr now have logo creation capabilities, however just because they help you create a logo does not mean that they’ve done any trademark research to see if the design is in use. If the logo that’s created is already in use from another business, you could face an expensive lawsuit. Doing research to ensure your logo isn’t breaching a trademark protects you and makes sure that you have a unique brand image that sets you apart.
In 2018 there was a trademark dispute between Belmont University and Baylor University that involved their logos. Each of them had interlocking “BU” logos that looked extremely similar. While no legal action was taken, Baylor wanted to protect their brand, so they contact Belmont University accordingly. Ultimately after agreeing to some terms, Belmont University agreed to update their own logo. This shows that trademark research is extremely important – if it can happen to large universities, it can happen to your business too. This is why it’s critical to conduct research before creating.
3. Where to Get More Information About a Patent or Trademark
The best place for patent and trademark information is the US Patent and Trade Organization (www.uspto.gov). They are a one-stop-shop for basic trademark information and walk you through the application process. One of the most useful pieces of information from their website is their database of Trademarks that are already registered – looking through this file is one of the main steps to ensure that your idea isn’t already trademarked by another company. You can apply for a trademark yourself to save some money, or you can register a trademark with the assistance of a lawyer.
4. Should You Get Professional Help During Trademark Research? (We Recommend It).
If money is not an issue, the answer is yes. Filling for a trademark with a lawyer is approximately $1500-$2000, however it includes a very comprehensive search of other trademarks that are out there. Now that the internet has grown so big and is such a vital part of business, it’s for the best to have thorough research completed on your behalf. Also, having a lawyer to file the paperwork for a trademark ensures that everything is done correctly the first time – which can remove headaches in the future. This approach is also recommended if you are entering any sort of license agreement. It’s best to protect yourself and your business from the beginning.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of trademark research, it should be clear how vital it’s to the success of a company in the long run. While you can go about business without that layer of protection, an issue or conflict will inevitably surface. So, before it’s too late: protect your brand, image, and bank account by conducting trademark research.