Home » Business Law » When to Register Your Trademark

So you have an idea…you start a company and start selling your product out of your garage; you spend thousands of dollars building your brand and develop a loyal following.  After a few years you decide to start selling your product in another state only to find out that someone else is selling a similar product using the same name…. then it hits you…why didn’t you register the trademark for your product?

In the United States, common law trademark rights arise on first use within a product category or geographic market.  This means that if you start selling products under your preferred trademark now, you can claim ownership of that trademark without formally registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, common law rights are limited to the geographic location in which the mark is used, so if you become successful, and decide sell your product in a different location, you may find that you cannot use the product name you were using.

Registering your trademark does two things; first, it ensures that you have the right to use the trademark that you want to use, and second, it enables you to enforce your trademark outside of the geographical location in which you open your business.  Therefore, the best time to register your mark is as soon as you go into business, or just before you roll out a new product for an existing business.

While it is possible for a business to register a mark by themselves, a recent study showed that over the last 25 years, businesses who hired an attorney, were 50% more likely to get their mark approved than those who chose to do it on their own.

So if you have a unique product idea, or want to protect the name of your service business (or “servicemark”), then contact us today to speak with one of our business lawyers for your free consultation.  The cost of registering your mark using an attorney is often much cheaper than trying to do it yourself.