Most of the entrepreneurs who give so much of important to almost every element in the business often tend to forget about an important element, Trademark. For those who do not have a clear understanding of trademark, it is often known to as a brand or brand name and is used by entrepreneurs as an identity to differentiate their goods from its competitors. According to the International Trademark Association, “A trademark may be any word, name, slogan, symbol, device, package design or combination of these that serves to identify and distinguish a product from others in the marketplace.”
Businesses fail to trademark their name or signs not because they do not know what it is but mainly because they do not realize the importance of it. Many businesses have unique brands or signs but for some reason do not take the effort to protect their right to be the sole user of the name or the symbol. This is mostly because they fail to understand that consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by trademarks and the reputation such brands carry. Another reason is that they mistake that by incorporating a company under a particular name or registering a domain name they have exclusive rights to use that name and prevent others from doing so. Just by registering the company name, it does not give any entrepreneur right to take action against a competitor for using the similar name or sign. The best protection is obtained by registering the brand as a trademark under the Trade Marks Act 2002.
Protection is one of the importance of trademarks. However, there are few other reasons too why trademarks are vital for any business. Facing couple of hurdles like government agencies and paying for a trademark attorney to help obtain a trademark is totally worth it for the business.
*Protection against impostors:
With a trademark, the company names and symbols are protected legally so that no one else can use it replicate it. When a cyber villain infringes a company’s trademark by registering it as a domain name, federal registration of the trademark is one of the elements taken in legal proceedings to settle on legal and rightful owner of the domain name. Not only domain name, its provides rights to protect a logo, tagline or anything that has been trademarked.
*Effective communication tool:
Trademarks can communicate intellectual and emotional attributes and messages about the entrepreneurs, the organization and the organization’s reputation, products and services to the company’s prospective customers. The trademarked names or logo allows the consumers to quickly take decision to select a desired product or service among the products of the competitors. For instance, Adidas’s stripped triangle design or McDonalds ‘arches’ logo is recognized globally, regardless of whether the native language is Swahili, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Arabic or English.
*Safeguard brands on social media:
Brands of the company act as the search keyword into any search engine or social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest when looking out for something. Almost all the social media sites have policies to protect the interest of any brand and prevent anyone from misusing the name or misrepresenting the company which may result in blocking the account by the platform. The trademarks can increase the traction for any website or social media platform which there by leads to higher ranking, more clients and increased recognition of the brand.
*Helps consumers and avoids marketplace confusion:
Trademarks acts as a sign of consistent level of quality for the products and services and create awareness for the brand. It also boosts the goodwill that are attached with the trademark which is hard-earned with months and months of work. It helps in grabbing the customer’s attention and makes the company’s product and services stand out.
In the market crowded with brands, trademarks protect the consumers from buying a wrong product or prevent any confusion that may arise in differentiating to buy a product. It helps the consumer to reply on the particular brands for their services and products. It serves as the base for purchase decisions what to buy and what to avoid.
*Worthy investment and valuable asset:
Trademarks appreciate and increase in value over time. It’s worth grows along with the business reputation. For many years consistently, Coca-Cola is ranked as one of the world’s most valuable trademarks with annual revenue generating capacity in the billions of dollars.
With trademarks the value of the business grows beyond the core business. It can help in the growth of the company with the expansion or acquisition. Just any other assets, it can be sold, bought, licensed or can even be used as security and pledged at banks to secure loans for the business growth.
*Hiring process simplified:
Trademarks increases the value of the company and its brands install positive feelings in the minds of the people. It gives out vibes that it is good and reputed company. Consequently, it becomes an attractive employer in the market and the company’s employment opportunities are much sought after by the candidates. This can also increase the employee retention rate for the company.
To obtain trademark for an organization, logo or brand name, a company need not shell out thousands of dollars. Depending on the requirement of the trademark, the US Patent and Trademark Office charges between $225 and $325 per trademark. This minimal amount would help even a small startup to trademark his business. However, this amount is not inclusive of the research or the attorney/legal fees. Renewals would cost few hundred dollars after every ten years.
*Comes with no expiry date:
Unlike copyrights or patents, the trademarks of any company does not expire until it is being used in the United States commerce. This means that once undergone a trademark process, it stays with the company for life unless or until its sold or leased. There are some popular brands in the country now that has been trademarked over hundred years back. Some of them are Mercedes, which was first registered in 1900 and Pepsi-Cola was registered in 1896. However, between the fifth and sixth year after the date of first trademark registration, one must file a ‘affidavit of use’ and pay an extra fee to keep the registration active.
Apart from all the reason to trademark the business, it is also vital to do a background research on the brand. It has to be checked if it fits the brand fits the company and does not infringe anyone’s prevailing rights. Failing to do the research may lead the business to waste time and incurring unnecessary costs in a litigation or dispute.