Do you actually have permission to use your chosen brand or company name? How would you prove your rights if dragged into court? Although ownership rights in your trademark do not stem from registering it, whether at the federal or state level, applying for trademark registration can provide the gold standard protection you need. Entrepreneurs should consider these risks in neglecting to apply for a trademark.
1. You could be committing trademark infringement.
The chances of your chosen brand name being the same or confusingly similar to that of another business owner are significantly high. Every year, the USPTO (the federal agency that administers trademark registrations) rejects over half of the trademark applications mainly due to how confusingly similar the chosen marks are. If you have been using an unregistered trademark, you could be infringing on someone else’s rights and could be sued by another business owner. If sued, proving the validity of your mark will be a long and costly process.
2. You might not be able to stop others from infringing on your trademark rights.
The flip-side of you infringing on someone’s rights is that other people might infringe on your rights by using a trademark very similar to yours. However, without a registered trademark, it might be extremely difficult to stop them. One of the benefits of trademark registration is that ownership is presumed, making it easier to prove your rights in court. Without a protected mark, you risk losing ownership and all the work put into your brand.
3. You could be using a trademark that cannot be registered.
You could be using an unregistrable mark as not every brand name is registrable. The problem is that if another business owner steals your product idea and then procures a trademark registration for a mark different from yours, you risk being dragged into court and potentially losing your trademark rights.
These potential issues highlight why we recommend that you are aware and act proactively by applying for trademarks to protect your company and branding materials.
Think you might need to apply for a trademark? Contact CORPlaw and we can advise and take you through the application process.
About CORPlaw. Headquartered in Miami, FL, CORPlaw is a boutique business law firm that helps modern entrepreneurs grow and protect their business. Founded in 2017, this minority and female-owned law firm has advised countless small businesses owners, startups, and creatives through the state of Florida, the national, and abroad. The CORPlaw team continues to grow and build a reputation of professional excellence and client satisfaction. Contact CORPlaw today at 1 (833) 545-7526, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our website (www.corplaw.us).
This article is for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the blog site publisher. The blog site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
 Edward Daciuk, Trademark Costs: DIY Registration vs. Online Service vs. Lawyer, Fit Small Business (Feb. 9, 2018), https://fitsmallbusiness.com/how-much-does-a-trademark-cost/.  Id.  § 1:10.Registration of trademark rights—Benefits, 1 Trademark Registration Prac. § 1:10  Id.  Id.  Basic Facts about Trademarks, USPTO (Feb. 2020), https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/BasicFacts.pdf.