Brand recognition and branding is always important to businesses, but with increased saturation of the online space there is an increasing rush to file registrations. I am currently seeing many more instances of infringement and confusion resulting from businesses using the same or similar names. One step you, as a business owner, can take to both protect your marketing efforts as well as ensure you are not opening yourself up to a lawsuit for infringement (and the heavy penalties that come with it) is to secure your brand name with a trademark registration.
A trademark registration for your business name will both ensure that you are not liable to a third party for infringement, but also that you are able to prevent competitors from using your name or a similar name. When a trademark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this registration is public record. This record is considered to put the public on notice that the owner has the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the goods or services shown in the registration. Under the Lanham Act, a certificate of registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the mark, the registrant’s ownership of the mark, and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark. This means that if someone were to use the mark owned by someone else regardless of whether the non-owner had knowledge of the trademark registration or the use of the mark by another party, the owner of the mark has the right to bring suit against the infringer and seek damages. This application of the law can either serve to protect you or, as I have seen first-hand, serve to bankrupt your business.
The Covid-19 restrictions have greatly impacted people world-wide, but we must continue on and adapt. If you are unsure where you stand in protecting your business, we can help evaluate your options and ensure that you are set up to succeed.
Tyler K. Berger, Esq. is an attorney with The Basile Law Firm P.C. and manages the firms’ office located in Dallas, Texas. Ms. Berger is a respected intellectual property and general business attorney. If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to reach out to her at Tyler@thebasilelawfirm.com