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Why To Register Your Trademark for Online Advertising

Why To Register Your Trademark for Online Advertising

I’m attorney Peter Kraybill and I handle
copyrights and trademarks. Today I will talk about why to register your
trademark if you advertise online. For your business or organization, you’ve
created a website, purchased a domain name, started a Facebook page; you’ve got a LinkedIn
profile and Instagram account and a twitter handle. You are advertising online to gain visibility
and build your brand. But wait, do you own the rights to your brand? How do you know that your brand is not confusingly
similar to another brand of goods or services that are similar to yours? And remember, it’s not your perspective that
matters the most. It is the perspective of the business or organization
that believes you are infringing “their” brand. There’s a problem with the easy visibility
of online advertising: your critics, competitors and potential trademark litigation plaintiffs
also see what you are doing. I routinely advise clients to ensure they
own the rights to their brand before they start spending money promoting it. Before you start a major messaging campaign,
hire consultants or spend your advertising dollars, how can you ensure that you own the
rights to your brand? The first step is trademark clearance, which
we regularly conduct. The second step is trademark application,
to obtain a federal trademark at the USPTO. Trademark clearance is conducting a thorough
search to determine if someone is already in your industry niche with a brand that could
be considered “confusingly similar” to yours or has a federal trademark. If we cannot clear a mark, however, we advise
on the risks of continuing to use that brand. You may desire to choose a substantively different
trademark so as not to risk claims of infringement from an existing mark holder. If we clear the mark, however, then the effort
to apply for a federal trademark is straightforward. We need to have evidence of the first use
of the mark across state lines, and a graphic of the mark for publication in the federal
Gazette of trademarks. Typically the process of registration takes
about 6 to 9 months. The application fee from the USPTO is typically
about $250 per class of goods or services. With a federal trademark, you have the ability
to pursue infringers of your mark and collect dollar damages from infringers of up to $150,000
per infringement in addition to payment of your attorneys fees. That ability creates a strong disincentive
for infringers to persist in infringing your federal trademark. If you advertise online or plan to do that,
please consider federal trademark registration.

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