Minuscule Symbols With a Sizable Message

In a society where both new and long-standing brand names and products are available, consumers are accustomed to seeing the tiny symbols used in to the upper-right of a product name to indicate a protected name, logo, or tagline, and yet it can be unclear as to what each of the marks truly indicate.

® – The encircled R is reserved for those names, products, and taglines that have a bona fide Trademark Registration. While use of this symbol is not required by law, this symbol communicates to the public that the mark, and goods/services associated with it, are protected and that the owner has a legal foundation on which to bring a claim against infringers of the mark. Placing the circle R to the upper-right of a Trademark is a simple way of communicating to the public “Have Trademark, will sue”.  

™ – While it is common to see this symbol, it is not restricted to use by owners of a registered Trademark. This symbol can be used without any federal registration, yet by the same token, the symbol indicates no federal legal protections to enforce against infringement. Those who might consider using this symbol may include applicants of a Trademark registration that is pending, and has not yet been approved.

© – This symbol does not apply to Trademark protection at all, but is instead used to indicate Copyright protection. Although not required to be shown on work titles, it is always a good idea to give notice that the work is under Copyright protection, and that the owner can take action against violations of the copyright.

Behrends Legal is ready to help you determine which mark you should be using with your work and your brand, and to file your Trademark Application to ensure your brand has all the rights it deserves!

970-578-9455

Office@behrendslegal.com

Small Business Series #1: The Foundation

You’ve decided to start a business – congratulations! As you bring your ideas to life, take steps to lay a strong foundation for your company. Intentionally tending to key tasks will set your business on a firm path as you prepare your business for growth.

YOUR BUSINESS NAME

As you consider various names for your company, invest research into whether other companies share the same or similar names. A strong, unique business name sets your business apart, and creates a commercial impression in the minds of the customers you are trying to reach. Even if you are not prepared to trademark your name at this time, research your local and community business names for similarities, and conduct a preliminary search on your Secretary of State website to find out whether the name you wish to use is available. Once you have committed to your business name, begin using it on your advertising, signage, printed materials, products, and online marketing. Begin building a strong reputation behind your business name, and hire a business law firm to file your trademark name registration as soon as possible.  

MAKE IT OFFICIAL

After selecting a business name, make your business formation official by electing your business tax structure and entity type. Some of the most significant steps to take at this stage include requesting an EIN, registration with the Secretary of State, and selecting the business entity type under which you will operate.

The entity structure you select depends on a number of factors including how many managers/owners there will be, decision-making procedures, and taxation preferences. Understanding the implications of the entity structure you select is vital as you establish your business, and can have significant consequences if the requirements of the structure you chose are not followed. The most common entity structures include Limited Liability Company, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, and Professional Corporation. Speaking with a small business lawyer can help you determine the best structure choice for your company.

SET THE WHEELS OF YOUR BUSINESS IN MOTION

Once you officially have your business structure in place, and have claimed your business name, create a plan that moves you towards opening day. Anticipate the initial expenses you will face and determine whether you can fund the initial costs, or will need financing. One of the most significant costs to new business owners is the investment in location. Your business space may include an office, warehouse, or storage. Do you need to rent space, obtain company transportation, hire staff, order inventory, or buy equipment? Identifying the tools you need for the day-to-day function of your business is essential to maintaining a realistic grasp of how quickly you can open, and whether you are more likely to need funding upfront, or need to consider financing before your business begins to produce profitable income.   

At Behrends Legal, we look forward to learning more about your business goals, and helping you create a plan to achieve them! Reach out today for your legal support needs. 970-578-9455.

This article is for the purpose of information only, and does not represent or create a client-attorney relationship. Please call Behrends Legal if you need legal advice for your business.

Avoid Making This Costly Mistake When Taking Your Brand To The Global Marketplace

WHY CONSIDER INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK?

As companies expand into the international arena, a whole new set of rules apply to protecting your business brand. Building your reputation for quality, and service are only half of the value of your brand – your brand recognition should be protected as a company asset by filing for trademark registration to maintain the rights in your brand name. Do not make the mistake of leave your brand unprotected in the global marketplace.

Companies who should invest in an international registration include those seeking to expand now or in the future, those with current business operations in other countries (manufacturing, distributing, offices, etc), and those with significant revenue generation from other countries.

WHEN SHOULD AN INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK FILING BE CONSIDERED?

In the global market, trademarks are only protected if they are registered in that particular country. Filing for trademark registration in the US does not automatically extend protection of your mark to other countries, which means that if you discover a business using your company name, logo, tagline, or packaging in another country, your company has no legal basis to pursue infringement proceedings in that country. Using a centralized system, such as the Madrid Protocol, allows trademark owners to register one application while applying to multiple member countries at once. Although not all countries are members to the Madrid Treaty, a 120+ country membership certainly makes the Madrid registration a worthy consideration.

One of the key benefits of filing an international trademark include claiming rights in the mark immediately upon registration. The Madrid system operates on a first-to-file system, rather than a first-to-use systems as exists in the US. Once obtaining an international trademark registration, the mark is registered for 10 years, and should be renewed in a timely manner to maintain rights in the mark. Registration of the mark can be expanded to additional countries, if the owner wishes to increase the market regions.

Please reach out if you are considering the registration of your trademark in the international arena – we can help you through this process!

info@behrendslegal.com

970-578-9455