If you are considering putting off registering your company trademark, you may want to rethink that decision. Some people feel like they would rather wait, save the upfront cost of registering and take care of that detail once the business is up and running or once they are bringing in more income. This may be a penny wise and a pound foolish; timing is important. Although you may be avoiding the minimal upfront cost and time spent on registering your trademark early, you may be setting yourself up for higher legal costs, loss of sales, and time consuming legal processes in the future, right when you should be enjoying the success of your company.
That being said, let me explain a few advantages of filing your trademark now.
1. Filing is a Deterrent
People, for the most part, don’t want to deal with the legal repercussions of infringement and knowing that a trademark is registered makes them think twice about using it. If they have a trademark attorney he/she will advise them not to use your mark. In short, registering your trademark prevents potential conflict. If you deter others from using your brand from the start, you avoid problems down the line and saved on legal fees.
2. Filing offers you easier means of obtaining monetary damages
If you find someone infringing on your trademark and you have not registered the mark you are facing an uphill legal battle. Without proper filing you must prove not only that the other party infringed on your brand, but that the actual amount of your lost sales or that the amount the infringer profits, are due to the infringement. In other words you must prove that they caused you loss of actual money.
One of the many obstacles to overcome here is that the damage the infringement caused you may not have a solid trail of evidence or that it may be based on future sales and will therefore be nearly impossible to prove. If at this point you had a properly filed trademark all you would need to prove is that the other party infringed on your brand. That’s it. This makes it much easier for you to protect your rights. Under such circumstances, current law entitles you to not less than $1,000 or more than $200,000 per counterfeit mark per type of goods or services sold, offered for sale, or distributed, as the court considers just.
3. Filing covers your trademark nationally
Another good reason to file is that having a Federal registration covers the whole country. This means that your trademark rights are not limited to your geographic area. While you may feel that you are only going to need your trademark to be protected locally you need to realize that in today’s market you should be thinking on at least a national level. The Internet and other advanced methods of communication mean that infringement of your trademark, even when done in another state, can and will affect your business and sales. Moreover, your competitor will likely be thinking on a national scale at minimum.
Again, think long term. Take care of registering your trademark and avoid the problems and possible loss of sales that you may face by having others infringing on your brand.
Also, if you are ready to take the step to register then make sure you talk with a knowledgeable trademark attorney who can help ensure that your registration is properly filed and that you are fully protected. A good attorney will help guide you through the process and can be a great point of contact if you ever have any questions about your trademark rights.