Protecting a trademark can be an intricate process where you can convert a brand name into a valuable asset, but missteps can cost you dearly. You’ve probably seen the symbol of a trademark before—™ or ®—but you are likely unfamiliar with everything the registration process entails.

Essentially, a trademark protects a word, symbol or phrase that identifies a unique brand name for a product or service. This may sound simple enough, but underlying requirements for managing disclosure, dealing with examiners and responding to infringement can derail any protection your trademark might get.

Why trademarks matter

If your company is planning to market a product or service with a unique name, you’ll want to protect that name. You don’t want another business to capitalize on expenses you incur to establish a brand.

Steps to getting a trademark

If you’re considering getting a trademark for your business, the first recommended step is to consult an attorney with experience in intellectual property law. They can help you navigate common trademark-related issues:

  • Applying for unregistrable names
  • Disclosing information without protection
  • Falling short of legal requirements
  • Overlooking essential paperwork
  • Missing important deadlines
  • Failing to act against infringement

Having protection for your company’s intellectual property can be a necessary step for any business owner. You can reap the benefits while your brand performs in a crowded marketplace, as long as you stay on the straight and narrow path of trademarking.