Protect Your Business Name: Tips on How to Secure a Trademark (Infographic)
Once you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into a business, the last thing you want is for your company name or logo to be hijacked by another business.
A trademark protects the word, symbol, design or combination associated with your company from being replicated. By obtaining a federally registered trademark, you give yourself legal protection should you need to defend yourself in court.
But not all trademarks that are filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are actually approved and registered. Indeed, in 2013, of the 300,000 trademarks filed, 100,000 did not get approved by the USPTO.
There are, however, steps you can take to ensure that if you file your mark with the USPTO it will be registered. For example, generally, marks that could be mistaken or confused with other marks already registered or pending registration are not going to be approved, according to the infographic generated by Mesa, Ariz.-based law firm Cook & Cook embedded below. Also, trademarks that misrepresent the good or service that the business provides are not likely to get approval.
Have a look at the infographic for more tips on how to be sure that your trademark will be registered and protected by the USPTO. Also, the infographic provides a geographic breakdown of where trademarks are filed and what industries they are filed in those regions.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.