At Crown®, LLP, we believe in helping you build, secure, and generate value from your brand portfolio, whether your market is your town or worldwide. We review each client’s trademark portfolio to formulate cost-effective, practical trademark growth, protection, and enforcement strategies, worldwide. Not all surprises are fun, so we have our binoculars trained on the future to forecast any potential challenges and address them before they become costly problems. We consider your messaging materials in their entirety to identify what should and can be protected as a trademark and what may be protected as another form of intellectual property. In other words, we always keep tomorrow in mind.
Why are trademarks so important?
Trademark protection is a critical first step before launching your new product, service, or business. You must ensure that your branding does not infringe on others’ brands, especially those in your market or industry. While in many jurisdictions (including the U.S.) trademark rights are conferred by use of the mark in commerce, by obtaining a trademark registration for your trademark or service mark, you can acquire more substantial rights in your mark. Additionally, trademark registration allows you greater leverage when enforcing your rights if someone infringes on your brand, including your name, logo, slogan, design, etc.
So what do trademarks protect?
It is important to note that not all trademarks are protected equally, so having a knowledgeable trademark attorney on your team is essential to navigating what is protected and what is not protected. That being said, here is a general list of what you might be able to protect with a trademark registration:
- Logos / Designs
- Phrases / Slogans / Taglines
- Product Shapes / Packaging
- And More!
What won’t trademarks protect?
Good question! Trademark law does not protect:
- Words that are generic for your product or service
- Words that are descriptive of your product or service
- Words that are deceptive and would mislead consumers
- And More! (Contact our team for more information, if you are unsure.)
A common misconception about trademarks is that registering a trademark gives you exclusive rights in the trademark or service mark over every other entity in or out of your industry or market – it doesn’t. Another misconception is that if you do not have your trademark registered, that means you can’t defend yourself if a third party challenges you – you can. Since trademark practice is specialized, and the trademark registration process is complicated, having the right strategy for your trademark is essential – that’s where our team at Crown® can help you.
At Crown®, LLP, our attorneys assist clients in domestic and international trademark selection, clearance, prosecution, and enforcement, whether you are the brand owner or you are looking to license a third party’s brand for your use.
We help you secure your brand by clearing, registering, and enforcing your trademarks anywhere in the world. If trademark infringement happens, we have that covered, too. We are advocates for your rights and will represent you both offensively and defensively in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), in both state and federal courts, in Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy arbitration proceedings, and in online marketplace takedowns.
Trademark rights are jurisdictional, which is a fancy way of saying that trademark rights are only valid in the country where you use your mark, or in some countries, only where you register your mark with the Trademark Office. Some countries, like the U.S., are “first to use,” meaning that priority is given to the first user of a trademark or service mark with particular goods or services. But, other countries and geographic areas, like the EU, are “first to file,” meaning it’s a race to the Trademark Office to file an application, and proving use is not required for registration. In many jurisdictions, third parties will act in bad faith and register popular trademarks with the goal of selling them to the rightful owner for an exorbitant price (just like pirates!), or potentially stopping the rightful owner from even using the mark. If you are offering your products or services outside the U.S., you need trademark protection in every jurisdiction where you are doing business. Strategizing these trademark filings with consideration of first to use and first to file jurisdictions in mind is paramount. If you would like to explore obtaining trademark protection in another country, our team is happy to assist you with strategy and filing.
If you or someone you know is: introducing a new product or service, starting a new business, incorporating or forming an LLC, LLP, or corporation, selling over the Internet, expanding the scope of a business, or forming a franchise, then you have a trademark issue and we are here to help. We assist creative entrepreneurs in developing brand strategies to grow their brands, both domestically and internationally. Our experience with lifestyle brands, small and large businesses, and individuals allows us to expertly advise our clients to select, protect, license, and enforce their intellectual property globally.
While it may be tempting to use an online service for your trademark registration, you risk spending more time and money in the long run. If you recognize the value in your brand, hiring our specialized and experienced team of trademark attorneys at Crown® is a significant first step towards protecting your intellectual property and these key assets of your business. Contact our team today for expert representation and smart strategies for your business.