Your business identity includes your company name, product name, tagline, and/or logo. In addition, your business identity is personal, emotional, AND valuable. Registering the trademark for each business identity is a low-priced, high value action to secure your success. Furthermore, claiming your common law trademark rights using a trademark symbols is a no-cost first step.
Trademark Symbol Before Federal Registration
Whenever and wherever you use your business identity, let people know it is yours by including the appropriate notice symbol.
Trademark Notice Symbols
Even before you obtain Federal Registration by registering your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you have a common law “priority of use” in your geographical area. In other words, you can sue for infringement if someone else uses it. Therefore, use one of the following notice symbols along with each business identity:
- Trademark (™) symbol – A trademark is a mark that represents tangible products (“goods”)
- Service mark (SM) symbol – Service marks are marks that represent services.
The Federal ® Registration Trademark Symbol
The federal registration symbol should only be used on or in connection with goods or services that are listed in the federal registrar. Further, the federal registration symbol may not be used with marks that are not actually registered in the USPTO.
Use of the federal ® registration symbol adjacent to a mark not federally registered comprises a misuse of the federal registration notice. Consequently, possible legal penalties include:
1. False advertising liability, and/or a finding of “unclean hands”
2. Trademark fraud allegations
3. Inability to register the mark in the future
Do you need help with your business trademarks? Contact us here.
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