You have spent valuable time and money to create the perfect name and logo (“marks”) to be the face of your business. They are the first ambassadors that a customer, lender, or investor will see. These marks create goodwill and represent a standard for the quality of goods and services that your business offers to the public. This Firm believes that, if you have not already done so, your business should protect these assets by filing a trademark application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Please find below the top reasons for securing trademark registration of your marks:
- Registration of the marks creates an intangible asset that will increase in value over time, recognized on your balance sheet as good will.
- Courts can impose statutory damages against a party infringing upon your registered marks, which is in addition to the common law remedy of an injunction.
- Protection of the marks may be achieved, not only on a national level, but also internationally.
- Registered marks offer an effective defense against another company challenging your use of the marks.
- Registered marks shall be protected forever as long as they remain in use by your business.
- Registered marks enable your business to communicate to consumers a standard of quality that may be attributable to your goods and services.
- Registered marks can drive sales through advertising and social media platforms.
- Registered marks can be an effective tool to hire and retain talented employees.
Registered trademarks can appreciate in value over time as your business reputation grows. Think of the value inherent in names such as Amazon, Google, or Mercedes-Benz or in logos such as Nike Swoosh, Mickey’s ears, or the iconic Coca-Cola bottle, all of which are recognized on the company’s balance sheet as good will. Trademarks also enable a business to break into industries that are not a part of its original mission (think about Apple entering the music business) or trigger a sale to a larger firm (Vans sneaker company purchased by VF Corporation).
Remedies Achieved Against an Infringing Third Party
If you have not registered your marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, under common law, you still have the right to seek an injunction against the offending party. Registration of the marks, though, provides an additional remedy of statutory damages against the aforementioned third party.
Comprehensive Geographic Protection
Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides nationwide protection of your marks against third party claimants, and registration under the Madrid Protocols can provide worldwide protection. Knowing that your marks can be employed in foreign areas can enable your business to expand nationally and globally.
An Effective Defense Against Third Party Infringement Claim
Cease and desist letters from third parties claiming infringement of a third party name or logo can be accompanied by a demand for thousands of dollars in damages in addition to changes to your business’s website, marketing materials, and social media platforms. If your business holds a registered mark, such claims and threats can be easily dismissed.
Patents and copyrights receive limited temporal protection under the law. Trademarks, on the other hand, remain valid in perpetuity as long as the firm remains in business and files the occasional renewal form. A registered mark could be the longest surviving single asset that a business owns.
Over time as the business grows, your name and logo begin to hold meaning beyond the goods and services that are being sold. Over time, consumers equate the name and logo with an emotional connection to quality and service that keeps them returning time and time again, or your business may have created an aspirational brand which drives consumers to work harder to afford your goods and services over those of lesser brands. Apple, Tiffany, and Ferrari are some of the businesses that have leveraged their trademarks to inspire customer loyalty and provide an aspirational goal that will attract new customers.
Effective Advertising and Social Media Tool
Trademarked names and logos can cut through the clutter of a crowded marketplace due to brand recognition. Moreover, an effective trademark can drive higher rankings of your products and services on various search engines, resulting in higher traffic to your website and social media platforms.
When a business communicates a positive brand image to the public, which can be identified by a trademarked name and/or logo, the positive image of that brand can enable a business to hire and retain more talented candidates and enhance employee loyalty, thereby lowering turnover and training costs.
Enforcement on the International Scene
In an article published by Pension & Investments, titled “Citadel Sues Like-Named Firms in Far-Flung Places”, the hedge fund Citadel has pursued legal action against several third parties using the “Citadel” name to raise investment capital, in order to take advantage of investors that think they are dealing with the hedge fund giant. Lawsuits filed by Citadel in federal court claim that these third parties have caused “consumer confusion and to profit from the goodwill and value associated with the Citadel trademarks generally, and especially within the world of financial services". Citadel has also filed suit against firms in Austria and Bulgaria that have caused confusion from investors seeking access to and hoping to profit from Citadel’s investing expertise. Citadel has requested both permanent injunctions and substantial monetary damages from the infringing parties, in addition to the reimbursement of its legal expenses. Though these cases have not yet been decided, it is important to note that forums do exist both nationally and internationally that offer remedies to aggrieved plaintiffs.
Trademarks offer an inexpensive and long-lasting asset that grows with your business and reputation. This Firm has filed hundreds of trademarks over the years and can assist you with this endeavor. Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a successful 2019!