If you are in business, registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a good idea. Whether you register for a trademark right away or wait until you’ve made sure your business idea will make the money you’re hoping is up to you. But it’s important to think about the pros and cons.
1. Validation. You will (or should) do a trademark search to ensure your trademark is available before sinking time, money, and energy into developing it. Doing a trademark search helps you make sure your mark is not likely to be confusing with others in use.
2. Public Notice. Registering a trademark will help other know you are using it and it will dissuade people from using a similar mark.
3. Enforcement. A registered trademark had stronger enforcement mechanisms than available without registration (ex: you can get more damage and attorney’s fees)
4. Lost lasting. As long as you pay registration renewal fees, the trademark can last indefinitely.
5. Adds value. If you want to sell the business, having a registered trademark creates a sellable asset and is something potential buyers will like to see.
The only real downside to registering a trademark is that it costs money and takes effort. You’ll face the following costs:
1. Registration costs and government fees. This includes search fees, attorney’s fees, and filing fees.
2. Trademark monitoring. You want to monitor market activities for potentially infringing marks.
3. Challenges. People can actually challenge your right to the mark.
3. Policing. If someone is infringing, you have to enforce your rights or you can potentially lose them.
4. Disputes/litigation. If there is a dispute about infringement, you may have to take it to the courts.
So, as I said, all of this costs money to deal with. If you are not in a position to fund these activities or you are not willing to do so, registering a trademark may not be something you choose to do. But intellectual property can be a huge asset, so it definitely could be worth protecting.
If you want to talk to a trademark attorney about whether registration is right for your unique circumstances, you can talk to me! Request a consultation.