by Kelley Keller | Featured Contributor
A trademark is a valuable business asset that you need to protect, but did you know that you can only legally protect a trademark if it’s distinctive?
For example, if your business or product name isn’t distinctive and protected by a trademark that has been correctly filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), you could lose your legal rights to use it in the future.
Imagine all the time, money, and sweat equity you could lose if five years from now you get a cease and desist letter telling you that you can no longer use your business, brand, or product name or logo because someone else owns the trademark.
Imagine what would happen to your business if another company started doing business in your area with the same or a similar name or logo? If your mark isn’t distinctive, then you could have little or no protection in a court of law even if you filed a trademark application that was approved.
The dangers to your business, reputation, and bottom-line are very real and can be extremely expensive. Therefore, it’s critical that you select a distinctive mark, file a trademark application properly, and maintain your trademark on an ongoing basis.
Don’t leave the fate of your business up to chance and move forward hoping that problems will never come up. They will.
To help you better understand what trademarks are, what it means for a trademark to be distinctive, and how to determine whether or not your mark is distinctive enough to get broad legal protection, take a look at the Spectrum of Trademark Distinctiveness infographic below.
Most importantly, pick your mark and protect it properly the first time. You’ll save time, money, stress, and a lot of heartache if you take the necessary steps to protect your business and its intellectual property assets today.
Source: Circle Legal
Kelley Keller, Esq. is President of Circle Legal and a 20-year veteran of the intellectual property law field. As an intellectual property attorney, she has deep experience helping businesses of all sizes identify, manage, and protect their trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets, including many household brands like Toyota, Disney, and Verizon, which she worked with during her tenure at one of the largest IP law firms in Washington, D.C. At Circle Legal, she focuses on redesigning the legal experience for innovative companies, business owners, and their families by providing comprehensive services that build solid legal, insurance, finance, and tax foundations for her clients (their LIFT Foundations).
Kelley’s personable nature and ability to explain complex legal issues in simple terms set her apart from most attorneys. She is relentless in helping businesses, their owners, and their families mitigate risks and open the doors to new opportunities. You can hear her helping business owners every week on the Circle Legal Business Fix-It Show broadcasting on iHeartRadio.
You can find Kelley on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ and download her free ebook, 41 Steps to Start a Business and Build Wealth the Right Way.