Only one trademark question matters for businesses. Most small business owners look into trademark protection and consider whether they can afford the costs of protecting their trademarks? Yet this is not the correct question.
The real question that small business owners should ask is: Can they afford not to protect their trademarks?
Potential Costs Resulting From Unprotected Brands:
- Greater chance of being copied inadvertently since the trademarks are not listed in the USPTO database
- Greater chance of being copies intentionally since the ® cannot be used
- Greater costs (lawyers, court fees, and more) when going after copycats and infringers in general
- Greater risks and stress when going after copycats and infringers in general
- More company time drained when going after copycats and infringers in general
- Failure to show consumers the importance of your brand
- Less valuable brand assets to monetize in a sale of the business
- More challenges to license or franchise the brand
- Reduced brand credibility
- Potentially missing opportunities for protection by US Customs
- Missed opportunities to stop cybersquatters
- Missed opportunities to reclaim social media usernames registered by others
Yes, trademark protection is an expense. But there is nothing you can do for your brand that provides more protection – and insurance – than obtaining a trademark registration from the USPTO.