You gain some state and federal protection simply by using your company’s name or product brand in the course of business. You can receive much stronger protections by registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Federal registration will put your mark in a large database that many corporations search before launching new products, and it will prevent other companies from registering confusingly similar trademarks for similar goods and services. After five years of continued use, you may be able to file for an “incontestable” mark that grants you additional protections in the event of a lawsuit. Federal registration also allows you to use the registered trademark “®” symbol with your logo. Finally, like other property, a trademark has value and can be licensed and sold down the road.
You may register a name or logo, and even sounds can be trademarks – including the MGM lion’s roar, and the NBC chimes. Different types of registrations come with different benefits.
Registration of your trademark is an inexpensive step to take that will help protect your company’s name and brands for many years to come.