There are a lot of aspects of your hard work that differentiate your business from the rest. It might be your dedication to exceptional customer service, the thoughtful and thorough training your employees go through, or your ability to negotiate favorable contracts. One differentiating factor that is often overlooked by new business owners, though, is intellectual property. While we’ve spent some time talking about patents and trade secrets on the blog, this week we want to touch briefly on trademark protection.
In short, a trademark is anything that is source-identifying. A logo, phrase, or symbol can be trademarked, but there are a lot of other things that can be trademarked, such as a shape or even a fragrance. What is key is that the source identifier must be distinctive in order to receive trademark protection. The strongest trademarks, like the Nike swoosh, instantly draw recognition of it company and its products. There’s a reputation associated with these marks, which is why companies often police them very carefully.
Trademark protection can be immense, too. Sure, it can prevent another from using your mark against your wishes, thereby protecting your business and your brand, but misappropriation of a registered trademark can also lead to significant damages. Therefore, you’ve got a lot at stake if you choose not to formally protect your trademarks.
Intellectual property like a trademark can really set you apart from your competition. However, without seeking protection and policing the brand you’ve spent time building, your trademark might be misappropriated by someone else who is looking to cash in on your business’s reputation. So, if you’re serious about protecting your business to the fullest extent possible, then it might be time to discuss these matters with an attorney who is able to guide you and your business throughout the intellectual property process.