Trademark 101 – The Complete Guide


Trademark 101: A trademark, such as a word, symbol, design, graphic, slogan, or combination can identify and distinguish a product or a service for a consumer. The entire process of creating, registering, and protecting your trademark can be a daunting task, however, it is a necessary step towards the future of your business.

trademark-101-the-complete-guide
Fig. 1: Trademark 101 – The Complete Guide

In this article, we will take a look at the various stages of the trademark life cycle process to help you better understand the trademark journey.

The various stages of the life cycle of a trademark are:

  • Creation
  • Screening
  • Investigation
  • Opinion
  • Filing
  • Protection
  • Maintenance
  • Exploitation

Also Read: Latest USPTO Trademark Rules

Creation

Creation is the initial stage when a trademark, name, symbol, or other device identifying your product or service comes in use in the marketplace. When you are creating a trademark for your company or product, there are a few important factors to consider. Your mark should be distinctive. Also, the use of generic, descriptive, and misleading terms should be avoided.

Screening

Before you begin using your chosen trademark, it is critical to research on your chosen trademark to see if it is similar enough to an existing trademark. This can lead to trademark infringement or a forceful act to cease its usage. Hence, screening helps in eliminating the proposed trademarks that are unavailable due to the existence of prior trademarks. Moreover, it is a part of preliminary research before investing in a more extensive search. This is a very crucial step as due diligence of existing trademark checks can avoid trademark litigation in the future.

Investigation

You must conduct trademark investigations to locate additional information on potentially conflicting trademarks cited in your research report. This includes the use of trademarks in the common market.

Also Read: Global Trademark Search – A Wise Decision

Opinion

As an attorney, it becomes imperative to use comprehensive trademarks research reports and other related research, to render an opinion regarding the availability of your trademark for use and registration. The result of the opinion stage is a decision as to whether your proposed trademark can safely be used and an assessment of any associated risks.

Filing

Once the trademark is safe, the proprietor can then proceed with the filing of an application for the same.

Also Read: Why You Need to Register A Trademark?

Protection

This stage is ongoing, and its purpose is to protect, maintain, and enhance the value of your trademark. Thus, protection commonly includes a watching program to find the applied or used trademarks in the marketplace that may infringe or dilute the uniqueness and value of your trademark.

Maintenance

The purpose of a maintenance program is to ensure that you do not face cancellation of your trademark registrations for failure to file necessary documents, renewals, etc.

Also Read: Interesting Facts About Trademarks

Exploitation

Once your trademark is well known, steps can be taken to capitalize on its popularity. A common avenue is through licensing programs, the benefit of which is that it can help you earn the most from your investment in your trademark and capitalize on its popularity and visibility.  

The above steps can guide you in pursuing your trademark without the risk of infringement or a lawsuit. Hence, one must definitely seek the opinion of a trademark professional. Sagacious IP’s state-of-the-art Trademark Watching service allows companies to keep an eye out for trademark infringement whether on a global scale or within the regions they operate. Click here to know more about this service.

– Divya Ale (Trademark) and the Editorial Team

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