What Are Trademark Rights? Why Do You Need Trademarks?

A trademark is a visual design, phrase, symbol or graphic that is used to identify a business and its products or services. Trademarks can either be implied under common law by placing a “™” symbol next to the distinguishing mark; or one can go a step further and register it with a government office (in the United States, it would be the USPTO) for the ultimate protection & enforcement against competition or potential infringement. You do not have to know who makes Tide to know that’s a trademark, or a brand name.

A registered trademark user is given the sole right to utilize the trademark nationwide for the services or goods that are connected with the trademark. Trademark law provides the greatest protection to pieces of intellectual property that distinguish you from the competition. However, especially when you’re in a fiercely competitive industry, you should not try to register a trademark without first understanding the technical complexities. This is where firms such as trademark lawyer near Houston, Lloyd & Mousilli, come in.

You can claim trademark rights in your unregistered trademark as long as it identifies or distinguishes your products or services and is typical. A failure to police unauthorized uses of your trademark will lead to a loss of trademark rights.

A trademark owner can give another business or individual the right to utilize a trademark through a licensing agreement, or a licensing clause in another contract; such licensed use of material generally indicates “this is a trademark of Company ABC.” 

Once the copyright office files a trademark document, the owner gets an exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, importing, or selling the protected design.

Common law trademark rights are not on the same degree as federal trademark rights obtained through application.

Simply offering for sale goods/services will begin to establish trademark common law rights, because common law rights attach when you start using your mark. A prior user without a trademark registration has rights in its jurisdiction of use, prevailing over any rights of a subsequent trademark registration owner. 

When you imply a trademark but don’t register it, you cannot prevent a person in a different jurisdiction from using the same mark, since it’s a common law trademark, which only protects you in the local geographic regions where you really do business.

Willful copyright infringement occurs when a business knows about a document and returns with the infringing activity anyway.

After consulting a lawyer, the first step in registering a trademark is to do a basic search of the USPTO trademark system to be sure there are no conflicts with another trademark.

The proprietor of a trademark may obtain rights through registration with a recognized trademark office. Your USPTO trademark registration will last for 10 years as long as you continuously use your trademark in commerce, under current trademark law.

The discovery phase of a copyright litigation matter can be the most valuable part of a case and can last several months. To be prepared for anything when it comes to trademark enforcement, it is advisable to hire a firm such as Lloyd and Mousilli that is highly skilled in providing advice for corporate trademarks and intellectual property.

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