Every business has a trademark or a service mark that distinguishes it from the competition; whether it is a business name, product name, or name for a specific service. Just as you would protect a real estate investment, so should you protect an investment in your intellectual property. Trademark protection prevents other businesses from using marks that are so similar to yours, that they improperly lure away your customers. Start with registering trademarks locally, nationally, and internationally. Then police them to prevent infringements. Your trademarks are business assets, so protect them with these 10 steps:
- Investigate first. Check availability and strength.
- Anticipate growth. Think state by state, country by country. Make sure you are covered forgrowth.
- Register the name to monopolize it. When is principal or supplemental registration right for you?
- Use your mark commercially and in the right way. Be first, be preemptive. Be smart.
- Educate your marketing department. Are they using your marks the right way?
- Keep close contact with the competition. Sometimes you have to negotiate confusing marks.
- Police your mark. You can do this via a simple Google.com search or by hiring a watch service. Who is misusing your mark?
- Keep records of confusions. You will need this information if you decide to enforce your mark.
- Never give your mark a rest. Once you start to use your mark, continue to use it as one of the best ways to protect it.
- Proactively and regularly audit. Things change, we can help.