Add Trademark Value

A trademark identifies the origin of a particular product or service for the public. It also associates particular qualities, goodwill, or reputation with that product or service. As with most intellectual property, a business owner may take various proactive steps to enhance the value of a trade or service mark as a tool and business asset. The following is a general list of best practices to maximize the value of a mark:

1. Pick the right mark. Different words and symbols have varying strengths under trademark law. Courts recognize four basic categories of marks. Understanding these categories before selecting a mark will help you to proactively and strategically pick a mark that will carry weight in the market, and, if necessary, court. Often, you will want to select a mark that subtly suggests something about the product, but that does not merely describe it.

2. Register the mark. Marks may be federally registered. Federal registration confers numerous benefits that make marks easier to enforce and that offer additional remedies against infringers.

3. Educate. Take concrete steps to teach the public in your market segment that your mark is meant to identify the source of your products. For example, make sure that you use proper symbols with your mark. The “™” symbol may be used on any trademark at any time. If you obtain a federal registration, the “®” symbol should be used. Also, always include your mark in promotional and advertising materials.

4. Monitor. Watch for use of similar or identical marks by competitors or others. If your mark is used or misused by others without your taking action, you may lose rights in your mark. Often this is easily preventable, but it does require vigilance.