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Trademark infringement, Part 1: Registering with the government

The business arena is incredibly competitive. In order to stay ahead, it's important for business owners to operate on a sound model and set themselves apart in the marketplace. Part of developing and maintaining a unique brand is securing trademark rights.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is essential to developing a brand. As such, it is any "word, name, symbol, device, or any combination" of these items that helps consumers distinguish businesses. For example, many people can identify the McDonald's golden arches and Nike's "swoosh" with a quick glance.

Knowing how critical symbols or names can be to a business's identity, it is important to protect critical trademarks.

A critical step in protecting a trademark is registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Unfortunately, this process isn't necessarily as simple as submitting a form and receiving approval.

One of the initial steps is to conduct a trademark search with all relevant Massachusetts and federal authorities. This helps to ensure that a new trademark will not infringe on those that are already registered.

After a trademark search is completed, then paperwork can be submitted to the federal government. At this point, the application can be approved or follow up action may be required. Officials with the trademark office may have questions or other businesses could raise objections.

No matter what course a trademark application takes, it may be helpful to have the assistance of an experienced attorney. This is a very detail-oriented process and can hinge on the success of the initial trademark search and correspondence with the trademark office. Our firm has the skill needed to shepherd an application from start to finish.

Young businesses don't need to deal with trademark-related issues right off the bat. Enterprising individuals should be able to focus on developing and growing their company.

Down the road, however, trademark infringement issues may arise. Handling these claims appropriately can weigh heavily on the future health of a business, so this topic will serve as the basis of discussion for a future post.

To find out more about this topic, please visit our firm's trademark registration page.

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