Our Chicago trademark lawyers cannot stress enough the importance of new business owners and entrepreneurs in holding a federal trademark registration for their service or product. Not only is a registered trademark on the federal principal register an extremely valuable asset, the protections afforded by a registered trademark are of paramount importance to maintaining brand image in connection with a service or product. Trademark laws protect names, logos, designs, and other marketing devices that identify a product or service of a particular source from those of others.
A federally registered trademark provides strong trademark protections to business owners and entrepreneurs by providing the exclusive right to use the trademark in the marketplace, among other things. Trademark protection also provides the owner the ability to seek court enforcement of infringing trademarks. A federal trademark registration creates nationwide protection as well as the ability to register your trademark internationally, which is the biggest advantage of filing your trademark with the United States Trademark Office (USPTO). Obtaining a federal trademark registration is critically important for any brand or business.
One of the hallmarks of trademark law is that no trademark should be permitted to exist in the marketplace if its co-existence with a competing similar or identical trademark will confuse the public into believing the services or goods of both trademarks derive from the same source. Thus, when a business owner or entrepreneur launches a new services or product in the marketplace, it is critical to first have a trademark attorney perform a comprehensive state and federal trademark search to confirm whether the proposed trademark and/or designs are available for use. In other words, a trademark search and clearance should be conducted to shore up the risk of infringement associated with launching a new service or product in the marketplace.
Two common misconceptions new business owners and entrepreneurs make are: A) if a trademark is not identical to a competing mark, there can be no infringement. In other words, many new business owners believe that misspelling a trademark or using a foreign language will differentiate their proposed trademark with a competing mark. In most instances, this is not true. B) if a similar or identical trademark is discovered, which is not competing, it is not registerable. In most instances, this is also not true. Two similar or identical trademarks may exist in different marketplaces if they do not travel in similar or identical channels of trade.
Many factors should be addressed in making a legal determination of whether or not competing trademarks are confusingly similar, but primary among them is whether an average consumer (as opposed to sophisticated) would be confused as to the source of the service or product. This is a fairly low threshold and thus it is often difficult in making that legal determination. For that reason, seeking trademarks that are as different, distinct from all other trademarks in the appropriate trademark classification is always suggested. In fact, arbitrary or inventive (coined) trademarks are always afforded the broadest scope of trademark protections.
Contact of Chicago trademark attorneys to learn more about the importance of obtaining a federal registered trademark. Our law firm provides a variety of flat fee trademark legal services, including comprehensive trademark search services and trademark registration services.