As a business owner, you may want to consider getting a trademark for your brand name. Of course, there are both advantages and disadvantages if you decide to get a trademark, and you’ll need to weigh them all carefully before making your final decision.
Here’s an outline of what you should consider.
Trademarks consist of symbols, words, phrases or designs that represent a brand. They help distinguish your brand from the brands of other companies.
It is possible to have a trademark and not register it. If you do go that route, however, you may find yourself the the victim of unregistered trademark infringement , and you would need to consult with an attorney to find out your legal options.
Advantages of Registering a Trademark
If you are invested in your brand and you want it to grow and thrive, consider these advantages of getting a trademark:
1. Confidence That You Own the Brand Name
Imagine what it would be like to pick out the perfect name and start branding all your content and social media pages with said name. Then, all of a sudden, you get a cease and desist letter that informs you that someone else has trademarked your brand name and warns you to immediately stop using it. If you register your trademark, you won’t have to worry about this situation happening. Instead, you can have confidence because you’ll already own the brand name.
2. Protection from Trademark Infringement
Once you’ve researched your brand name to make sure it’s available for trademark and registered the trademark, the name of your brand, the logo and any taglines associated with it are all protected from trademark infringement. Other businesses and brands are legally prohibited from using your trademarked name, and if they do, you can file a lawsuit against them.
3. Social Media Protection
No matter what social media channels you use to promote your brand — such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram — you’ll be protected if someone creates a page using your trademark on one of those platforms. All social media platforms have some form of policies regarding trademark infringement. If you do encounter such a problem, notify the social media channel on which the infringement took place. Be ready to provide proof that the mark actually is registered to you. The channel should investigate and suspend the account in question.
4. Instill Trust
With a trademarked brand name, customers will come to recognize the brand, which can build loyalty. This is a positive step for your brand, which will help it grow.
5. Increase Sales Value of Your Business
If sometime in the future you decide that you want to sell your trademarked business to another party, the business will likely be more valuable than if you had made the decision not to trademark. The value will come from the other party being able to take ownership of an established and recognizable brand.
6. Power to Squash Domain Names
If you decide on a brand name and you register a trademark only to find out that someone else owns the domain name, you will have the power to file a request to have the domain shut down.
7. It’s an Investment That Never Expires
Although registering a trademark isn’t free, it’s probably not as expensive as you might think. Plus, it’s a one-time fee. Once you own the trademark, it’s yours.
Disadvantages of Registering a Trademark
The disadvantages of registering a trademark are much less in number than the advantages. However, you’ll still want to consider them before making your decision.
8. There’s a Time Investment
Registering a trademark means doing paperwork. And doing paperwork takes time. So you’ll have to be willing to invest the time and effort into doing so.
9. You May Have to Go to Court at Some Point
Registering a trademark doesn’t mean that another party can’t dispute your ownership and even file a lawsuit against you. Even though you own the trademark, that doesn’t always mean you can avoid getting involved in a lawsuit.
Although nothing will probably come of it, you will have to pay legal fees and lose a considerable amount of time dealing with the lawsuit.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the pros largely outweigh the cons of registering a trademark. Really, the only cons are the time and effort you will have to invest, which could be well worth it to gain the benefits of having a legally trademarked brand.