A trademark offers numerous benefits to businesses. However, it is often associated with misconceptions. Misinformation about trademarks can cause business owners to make costly mistakes.
The following are three trademark misconceptions:
Having a trademark means one owns a particular word or phrase
You can trademark a particular word or phrase, but this doesn’t mean you own it or can prevent others from using it. When you register a trademark, you have the rights to how it can be used with your specific goods or services – you don’t have the rights to it in general.
For example, if you are in the beauty industry and you trademark a slogan, you may have the right to prevent other businesses in the industry from using it, but not companies in non-beauty fields.
A trademark that exclusively describes a business owner’s goods/services is effective
It’s common for some business owners to develop trademarks that exclusively describe their goods or services. But this may not be as effective as it seems. You need strong trademarks, such as invented words, words that have no association with your goods or services and words that suggest some quality of your goods/services without stating it outright.
Consider avoiding descriptive trademarks that immediately inform what your goods or services are and generic ones, such as “slow cooker” for slow cookers.
Descriptive trademarks can only be registered in limited circumstances. And generic ones are not even federally registrable.
Owning a trademark is similar to having a registered trademark
You own a trademark as soon as you start using it on your goods or services. But this comes with limited rights, for example, your rights only apply to the geographical area where you provide your goods or services. If you want broader rights and protection, you must register your trademark.
It’s crucial to learn more about trademarks to protect your business considerably.