An image of a female attorney filling out a trademark registration application

Top 5 Trademark Mistakes to Avoid as a Business Owner

Do you have a business? Do you own a trademark that you want to protect? If so, then this blog post is for you! In this article, we will be discussing the top 5 trademark mistakes that many entrepreneurs make. These are all common errors- things that can happen to any of us when it comes to protecting our trademarks and brand identity. Some of these mistakes might seem obvious, but they are worth mentioning just in case! Let’s get started with these top 5 trademark mistakes on our list.

Not doing a trademark search

Not doing a trademark search before you register your trademark is the first mistake that many entrepreneurs make. This can lead to legal consequences in the future because there may already be a registered trademark for something similar with another business owner, and if this happens then you could end up having to change your name or deal with expensive trademark infringement lawsuits from an IP lawyer.

Moreover, when you fail to do a proper search, you’re basically throwing money away. When you start the trademark registration process, you pay filing fees, attorney fees if you go through an attorney (hint: you should), and without a proper search, your trademark registration will most likely not even go through and you end up losing all that money.

Choosing a generic or merely descriptive name for your trademark

The fourth trademark mistake that many entrepreneurs make is when they choose a generic or merely descriptive brand name. You can’t register a trademark for a generic word. Moreover, merely descriptive marks will get rejected by the USPTO on the basis that they are merely descriptive.

To register a trademark you will need to choose one of the following options: a suggestive mark, an arbitrary mark, or a fanciful mark. For more information on what these types of marks entail and to see some examples, read this blog post here.

Not filing for trademark registration at the right time

Not filing for trademark registration at the right time is a mistake that many entrepreneurs make. Registering your trademark too early or too late can have serious consequences and increase or decrease your chances of successfully registering your trademark. Not registering your trademark at the right time can also be costly.

When you try to register too early in the process, you run into issues like not having your branding fleshed out or not using your brand in interstate commerce. If you’re not sure about your brand, and you try to register a trademark, you’ll potentially lose money on the filing fees and attorney registration if you decide that you want to change your brand. Moreover, you might not even have started using the trademark in interstate commerce. If that’s the case, then you cannot register your trademark until you use it in interstate commerce

There is a method to file for registration of your trademark when you’re not using it in interstate commerce yet. This filing basis is called “intent to use” trademark registration. The topic of intent to use basis for trademark registration has been discussed here in detail.

The danger of trying to register your trademark later on is that you might come across a business that already registered the same or confusingly similar name to yours. The longer you wait, the worse your chances get for registering your trademark.

Not filing for trademark registration through an attorney

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not filing for their trademark through an attorney, which can be costly and time-consuming. Filing a trademark registration application without help from an Intellectual Property (IP) lawyer will most likely result in your application being rejected – even if you file it on time!

Moreover, the chances of receiving a substantive office action increase when you file it on your own or by using online filing systems. Attorneys spend years learning about processes and the law, then they work on hundreds and thousands of cases to learn about different circumstances and scenarios and know how to handle each one. When you file for yourself or use a document completion system (i.e. Legal Zoom), you’re leaving many important nuances to chance. An attorney will analyze your trademark, do a proper trademark search and let you know even before you file whether you have a chance of registering your trademark.

Not keeping track of renewals

The fifth mistake that many entrepreneurs make is they don’t keep track of their trademark renewals, which can lead to losing the protection for their brand and identity. This oversight means you will need to spend more money on a new application process if this has happened because your previous registration had expired during the grace period.

Also, you’re not always successful at registering your expired brand because during that time period another business could have registered the same or confusingly similar name as your brand.

When you register through an attorney, you also get this peace of mind about renewals because the attorney will actually notify you about your renewals dates and timeframes.

Conclusion

As a business owner and entrepreneur, there are a number of mistakes that should be avoided. This particular post focused on the mistakes entrepreneurs and business owners make in the trademark registration process and sphere.

This blog post discussed the following five trademark mistakes that an entrepreneur and a business owner should avoid:

-Not doing a trademark search to be sure that the name is available for use, and that there is no other business that registered that same or confusingly similar name already.

-Choosing a generic or merely descriptive name as your brand name or trademark because a generic name can never be a registered trademark, and a merely descriptive name cannot be protected either unless there is an acquired secondary meaning.

-Not filing for your trademark registration at the right time by either trying to file too late or too soon.

-Not filing for trademark registration through a lawyer

-Not keeping track of renewals for your registered trademarks. Failure to renew your registration in a timely manner can cause you to lose your protection forever.

Thank you for reading this blog post about the top five trademark mistakes to avoid as a business owner and entrepreneur! If you need help with your intellectual property or brand registration process please schedule your free video call here.

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