Consequences of Not Registering Your Trademark

When your business is in its very early stages, money is, understandably, extremely tight. As the founder of a startup, you are only concerned about the things that will make your business money today. Although it is very tempting to get tunnel vision and think this way, you are doing a disservice to your long-term business prospects by not considering what you need to do with your business’s intellectual property. To help illustrate the importance of this point, we will cover some potential consequences of not registering trademarks. 

You Receive Limited Protection

It is possible to register your trademark within an individual state. This is cheaper than registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but you risk losing out on trademark protection beyond your immediate area. Depending on your business’s goals, that might be fine; however, with the increasingly globalized economy we operate in, the chances are high that you will expand your products or services around the country—or world. 

Trademark Squatters

If you plan on doing business in other countries, it is imperative to get trademark protection in each country. While the first user of a specific trademark has certain priority rights in the U.S., many other countries give priority rights to the first person or entity to file a trademark in its jurisdiction. So, when you are ready to expand your product line overseas, an unwelcome surprise might be waiting for you—someone acting in bad faith (trademark squatter) has already registered your trademark in the market you’re planning on expanding to. 

Now, you are faced with a dilemma: do you accept that your business isn’t going to be able to expand in that market OR do you proceed with a trademark cancellation? This is a tool available to trademark users, but it is expensive and, sometimes, cost-prohibitive. If the trademark squatter registered the mark more than five years before you file for cancellation, you will have quite the uphill battle. 

This scenario described directly above can also happen within the U.S. If someone registers a mark you have used but not registered, they can send you a cease-and-desist letter ordering you to stop using the trademark you believe is rightfully yours. If you choose to fight this demand, there will be a time- and money-intensive process ahead of you. The fact is that with the proliferation of online marketplaces, trademark squatters have an easier time than ever stealing existing trademarks. 

A Trademark is a Foundation

For the reason outlined in the introduction to this blog (and so many others), entrepreneurs neglect to register their business’s intellectual property. Registering your trademark needs to be a priority, though; not doing so means you are capping your business’s future profits. Securing the most stringent legal protection for your intellectual property is the surest way to grow your company exponentially—with confidence. When intellectual property is the only thing your business has, you should treat it that way! 

Our firm would be honored to discuss your options for registering your company’s intellectual property. The first step is to schedule a 15-minute phone call with us, which you can do here. We look forward to speaking with you!

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Hayoon Kane Law Firm

I am committed to helping business owners such as yourself understand the intricacies of the law, so you can concentrate on growing your company.

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