Trademark Basics for Small Businesses

A trademark is a word, sound, design, or expression that is used to identify the source of the goods or services a company provides. Eventually, a company’s marks will become recognizable by consumers and consumers will begin to associate a certain level of quality and reliability with the products. While it may not be at the forefront your mind as a small business owner, acquiring trademark protection for your brand is of utmost importance, and thus is something you should prioritize in your business plan. Registering your trademarks early on will not only ensure that the brand you have worked hard to build will continue to grow and be safe from theft and misuse, but also will help insulate you and your business from any potential trademark liability.

Although some trademark issues may be quite complex, the misconception that obtaining trademark protection is unnecessary, too expensive, or too difficult dooms many small business owners and their intellectual property assets. In reality, trademark registration is a standard process for an experienced attorney, and the cost of registration is only a fraction of what your mark will undoubtedly be worth, with application fees totaling only around $200-400. The application process is also relatively short,  generally taking about six months, although this could be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the situation. In fact, you can begin the trademark registration process before you have even started offering your services or selling products, as long as you certify your intent to use the marks in commerce.

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It is completely understandable that you, as a small business owner, have plenty of other issues on your mind, but neglecting to obtain trademark protection is a poor decision for you and your business. On your end, obtaining trademark protection is as simple as choosing what you would like your trademarks to be. What will the name of your brand be? What will your logo look like? If you can answer these questions, an experienced trademark attorney can help you plan and handle the rest of the work for a modest flat-fee, including: 1) conducting a preliminary search for similar marks that have already been registered, 2) filing your application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 3) monitoring the status of your application and responding to the USPTO with any necessary additional documentation, and 4) helping your mark overcome a registration refusal.

We here at Atom Law Group cannot stress the importance of registering your trademarks enough. This is something you must do, and must do early. We are experienced in this field, having filed many trademark applications as well as helped our clients successfully overcome an initial registration refusal. To obtain an consultation regarding your business plan and trademark registration options, please contact us at 312-943-8000. We take an approach tailored to your specific needs  to help you take the proper steps to enable your business to not only have a sound legal foundation, but also to flourish.