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2 important steps to take when seeking to register a trademark

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Trademarks

Having registered trademarks is beneficial for many businesses. Trademarks play an important role in branding and marketing efforts, and they can help establish a company as truly professional. Some businesses begin using a trademark without ever actually registering it, a move that might put them at risk of intellectual property infringement in the future.

Another business might start using or even seek to register the same trademark or a very similar one. Although businesses can potentially prevail in such scenarios if they go to court, they may have an uphill battle if they’ve failed to take the right steps before any infringement occurred. Registration of a trademark makes enforcement easier and helps to solidify a company’s legal protections.

The registration process can be a bit complicated. To start, there are two steps that many organizations will need to take before formally registering a trademark.

Consult with consumers

Market testing and research are incredibly important not just for big corporations but also for medium-sized businesses. A trademark may not be very effective at helping build a brand if it causes negative emotions in a company’s intended customer base or reminds them of a completely different business or industry. What designers and professionals conceive of does not always align with what consumers would most appreciate. Therefore, research, including possibly holding panels with consumers, can help companies develop trademarks that leave a positive impression and that are memorable for customers.

Check for similar existing trademarks

One of the few reasons that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would deny a trademark application made in good faith is a scenario in which there is already an existing registered trademark that is similar. A reasonable likelihood of confusion among members of the general public may lead the USPTO to deny a trademark application. Similarities could involve an image or graphics used. Concerns could also relate to how people would speak or pronounce the language included in the trademark. Any noticeably similar trademarks might prevent a business from using the image or logo it had hoped to protect.

Securing a trademark is often a challenge, and many businesses need additional support throughout that process even if they have access to a general counsel. Seeking legal guidance related to the trademark application and registration process specifically and in depth can increase a company’s chance of success when it invests in this crucial branding effort.