One of the most important things your company has is its reputation. Without that, you’ll struggle to convince other businesses to do business with you and to convince customers to buy from you. Lose your corporate identity, and you’re just another nameless product in a sea of thousands.
You’ve worked hard to build the trust and confidence that your customers have in your brand. Don’t let someone come along and profit from that hard work.
Keep reading to learn how to protect your brand identity from competitors and unsavory parties.
What Is Your Brand Identity?
Your company name and logo and any other imagery that you use to mark your company are considered a part of your brand identity. These marks and images immediately identify your company and provide customers with the ability to associate your products with your company.
A well-designed logo will distinguish you from the competition.
The Risks of Not Trademarking Your Brand
Anything that you use to identify your brand should get submitted for trademark protection. This will give you legal ownership over your specific design. When you don’t do this, you leave the door open for anyone to come in and steal your design.
You could have a competitor copy your design and take your sales volume by confusing customers. Or they could take it one step further and trademark their design. Then they’ll send you a cease and desist or lawsuit documents. Now you’ll lose your ability to use your own name and logo.
Steps to Protecting Your Brand Identity
The first step is to design your logo. It needs to be unique in some way. You can use any combination of words, images, shapes, or symbols. Working with an intellectual property attorney during this phase is helpful. They can help guide you through the USPTO requirements.
Consult with an Attorney
Once you have your logo compete, your attorney can confirm that it complies with the USPTO directives. They will also check for any existing trademarks that may be too similar to your design.
Check for Existing Trademarks
You need to perform this check before you give final approval on your logo design. Having an attorney check will ensure that you don’t infringe on any brands that you’re unaware of.
Just as you want to guard your logo fiercely, other companies want to do the same for theirs. So while your logo may be wholly unique, it could infringe through shape, color, or symbol. Your attorney will be able to help you determine if your logo design is too close to an existing trademarked logo.
You could simply file your trademark application and wait for companies to oppose your application. However, this will cost you more than hiring an attorney to perform a search for you. So save yourself time, money, and effort by working with an experienced attorney from the beginning.
Have a Unique Design
You can use common symbols in your logo, but there also needs to be a distinctive quality. For example, you can use stars in your logo, but there must be something else with it.
Macy’s, Heineken, the Cowboys, Converse, and the US Army all use a star in their logo. But each logo is distinctly different so that you wouldn’t confuse one with another.
Apply as Soon as Possible
Protect your logo as soon as possible by filing an intent to use application. This will protect your investment before you go public on the market with your new product. You don’t want a competitor to get word of your plans and get to market or the trademark office before you. Then all of your investment was for nothing.
Once approved for an intent to use trademark, you have six months to start using your logo. Once you provide proof of this, your trademark is officially published in the USPTO database.
Protect your corporate identity today, be speaking with one of our experienced attorneys.