The following is an edited transcript of my video Brand Protection Cheat Sheet.
I like to have visual aids when explaining topics, so I came up with the cheat sheet below for new brands to go through the basic steps for trademark protection and for building a bold brand. It’s six short, simple steps to ensure that a new brand will be on its way to having a strong foundation.
Choose a creative name. That’s the foundation of the house you’re going to build for your brand. Start with a creative name that’s not boring, not taken by somebody else in the industry, not generic or descriptive, and you’re off to a great start. For more information about that, search our website for anything about brainstorming tips or the spectrum of trademarks.
Ensure that the name is unique in your industry. That means doing a search and working with a professional to do a comprehensive search. For more information about what that entails and what the options are and the details, search for comprehensive trademark search on our website.
Apply for registration with the USPTO. It is critical as you build this brand, now that you’ve selected and cleared it, to begin the application process with the USPTO. Search for trademark application and trademark registration on our website.
Acquire relevant domain names and social media handles. Domain names that match identically may not be available. Not a big deal as long as they’re not being used by a competitor. Acquire whatever brand names you can for insurance that nobody else is going to take them and cause problems. Search for tips about social media on our website.
Make sure you’re using proper trademark notice. The TM symbol, the SM symbol, the R with a circle symbol. Lots of information, visuals, videos, podcasts about that. Search for proper notice on our website.
Keep good records of all these key dates. Keep records of when you came up with the name, when you started using the name, when you applied to register the name, if someone developed a logo for you. Having all of those basic records all together in one place is going to help when working with someone to protect your trademark and help in the event of a dispute, whether you have to defend a dispute or initiate a dispute against someone else. It’s worth taking a little bit of time to keep those records. Search for information about records on our website.