Sadly, many business owners fail to protect inventions or trade secrets. Down the road, they may find an unexpected competitor who is using methods you crafted or offers a product very similar to yours. Business owners often don’t think their company name, product or service is an asset but it is.
Obtaining a trademark is one way to protect these assets. A type of “intellectual property”, trademark’s basic concept is to prevent unfair competition. Patents and copyrights are the other types of intellectual property that mainly protect inventors, artists and literary writers.
While it isn’t mandatory to register a trademark to receive protection, registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Principal Register means more protection than the generic “common-law” designations.
Advantages of USPTO protections include:
- Notice to the general public of the registrant’s claim of ownership
- Registrant’s exclusive right to use the signature ® symbol nationwide on all goods and/or services listed in the registration
- Ability to bring legal action regarding the trademark in federal court
- Use a basis to obtain trademark registration in other countries
- Ability to file registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent foreign goods from being imported into the U.S.
The USPTO application process takes 10-12 months. While the application is processing, you may use the ™ symbol for trademarks and the symbol for service marks. You are not permitted to use the ® symbol until your product is listed as “registered” with the USPTO.
Current regulations require a trademark be renewed every 10 years.
Read some examples of trade secrets in the online incorporation knowledge center at MaxFilings.com. And once you are ready to form a corporation , do it easily online in 10 minutes or less, or fill out the forms, save and finish them at your convenience.