Even if you don’t realize it, everyone deals with trademarks on a daily basis. “Trademark” is another way of referring to brands.
Consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by trademarks and the reputation such brands represent. It is important for business people to have an understanding of why trademarks are important assets and help grow their business. Here are the seven top reasons of why trademarks are important to your business.
1. Trademarks are an effective communication tool. In a single brand or logo, trademarks can convey intellectual and emotional attributes and messages about you, your company, and your company’s reputation, products and services.
Your trademark doesn’t need to be a word. Designs can be recognized regardless of language or alphabet. The Nike “Swoosh” design is recognized globally, regardless of whether the native language is Swahili, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Arabic or English.
2. Trademarks make it easy for customers to find you. The marketplace is crowded and it’s hard to distinguish your business from your competitors. Trademarks/brands are an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out.
Customers viewing a trademark immediately know who they are dealing with, the reputation of your business and are less likely to look for alternatives. Your brand could be the critical factor in driving a customer’s purchase decision.
3. Trademarks allow businesses to effectively utilize the Internet and social media. Your brand is the first thing customers enter into a search engine or social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) when looking for your products and services.
Higher traffic on a website or social media platform translates into higher rankings, bringing even more traffic, more customers and more brand recognition.
4. Trademarks are a valuable asset. Trademarks can appreciate in value over time. The more your business reputation grows, the more valuable your brand will be.
Trademarks provide value beyond your core business. Trademarks can lead the way for expansion from one industry to another, such as from personal care to clothing or eye ware. If you desire it, your trademark can lead to the acquisition of your business by a larger corporation.
Trademarks are a property asset, similar to real estate, that can be bought, sold, licensed (like renting or leasing) or used as a security interest to secure a loan to grow your business.
5. Trademarks can make hiring easier. Brands can inspire positive feelings in people’s minds. As a result, employment opportunities are more attractive to candidates. Employee retention can be higher if employees have positive feelings for the brand and the products and services offered.
6. Trademarks are a bargain to obtain. The United States Patent and Trademark Office charges as little as $275 to obtain trademark registration, only a few hundred dollars after five years and another few hundred dollars every ten years.
7. Trademarks never expire. Your trademark will not expire as long as you are using it in United States commerce. Some of the most recognized brands in the United States today have been around for over a hundred years. Mercedes was first registered in 1900. Pepsi-Cola was registered in 1896.
Brands are a critical asset. Do your due diligence before investing a lot of time and money in launching a new brand. Be sure the brand fits your company. Obtain a clearance search to make sure your new brand is available and doesn't infringe on anyone’s prior rights.
Failing to research a brand before adopting can lead to denial of registration by the USPTO or, worse, a cease and desist letter from another brand owner. Spending the time and money up front to determine whether a brand is available will help avoid the very high costs of a dispute or litigation.
Keep in mind that the more you differentiate your brand from others in your industry, the easier it'll be to protect. Choose a name and logo that distinctly identify your business and will protect it from competitors.