I am traveling this week, so it is a good opportunity to re-post a popular and, I think, important post (originally posted October 5, 2011):
There are many reasons to register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.USPTO.gov). Here are 10 of the best reasons, in no particular order.
- Registered trademarks show up in the USPTO’s online database, the first place most companies and lawyers look to when clearing potential new names. Just being in the database might prevent someone from adopting a similar name.
- Add value to your brand. The registration is a tangible asset. It can be assigned, licensed, or even used as collateral. In the sale of a business, it can be given a dollar value.
- File for international protection. Trademark owners can sometimes use a US application or registration as the basis for rights in another country.
- The registration symbol. It looks nice when you use the ®. It looks official (because it is). It helps ward off potential infringers.
- Register with Customers and Border Patrol. Owners of registered trademarks can file them with Customs, who will then be on the lookout at our ports and borders for counterfeit and infringing uses.
- Sue in Federal court. Owners of registered trademarks can sue in U.S. District Court which generally provides more opportunities for enjoining an infringer’s use and for potentially obtaining damages and attorney’s fees.
- Quicker resolution of disputes. If someone infringes the trademark, a “cease and desist” letter featuring a registered trademark is much stronger and much more likely to lead to a quick (and cheaper) resolution of the situation with positive results.
- Reduce the probability of being accused of infringement. Having a registration means you have taken steps to protect your trademark, and means the USPTO did not find any confusingly similar trademarks. This reduces the probably that another company claims trademark infringement against you.
- Add value and strength to your brand. Showing others that you have a registered trademark (by using the ® symbol) shows them that your brand is legitimate, is important and worthy of protection.
- After five years of registration, a registration may become incontestable, which means that it becomes even stronger and is almost impervious to attack.
- BONUS REASON: The registration certificate is official. And cool. And it looks great framed on your office wall.
the USPTO seal