Trademark 101: Common pitfalls to avoid

Many people tell you about how to get a trademark registered or how should a trademark be decided upon; however, in all of this, the most important aspect that deserves attention is often left out.

In this post, we are going to look at one of the most neglected aspects when it comes to trademarks that result in rejections.

As the old saying goes, “half knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance.” This quote aptly fits into today’s scenario.

Because of the potential hang-ups in the system, most people choose the smart approach of working with a trademark attorney.

If, however, you decide that you would rather handle your trademark application yourself, you should guard against certain pitfalls. So what are those? Let’s have a quick look.

Related: What are the Minimum Requirements for Trademark Registration?

The first question that you need to ask yourself is “Is the Mark I Have Chosen Safe for Filing?”

To answer the question above, all you need to do is to find out whether the trademark you have chosen is similar to any other mark, and hence, to assess this question the following points have to be taken into consideration:

  • Are the marks conceptually similar
  • Are the marks visually similar
  • Are the marks phonetically similar
Once those concerns have been taken care of, we will look at the major misconceptions that you need to keep in mind to avoid encountering any hiccups along the way. So, shall we have a look then?

Misconception #1:

Once a Trademark is Registered, and Up and Running There is Nothing to Worry About

However true this statement might be; there is always a chance of losing your trademark’s power in many ways, such as improper use by employees or third parties. Therefore, keep in mind that you would need to keep a check on how your trademark is being used or portrayed.

A single Typo or capitalization error can immensely hurt your brand. Therefore, always ensure that your brand is represented the way it was intended to be, including the font, size or capitalizations if any, to maintain its identity across the board.

Also Read: How to Protect your Trademark

Misconception #2:

A Single Trademark Will Cover all Goods and Services no Matter What They are and Who Else Has Them

Trademark ownership for one class will not allow you to enforce your brand against a different class of goods or services using the same trademark name. You can use the trademark only if their services and products are related to yours in such a manner, so as to not create confusion in the mind of the public.

The Choice of Words Used in a Trademark Can be anything as Long as it Sounds Fancy

If you are all fired up about using a naughty phrase or word for your brand, you need to cool your jets. You might think that we live in a very liberated era where anything goes, but there are still some legal structures when it comes to the use of profanity, obscenity and other vulgar words or phrases. Therefore, research your words before you decide on including them in your trademark application.

One Can Ignore Trademark Ownership

This is a big ‘No’ as you must find out whether the mark is in your name, your attorney’s name or the name of your corporation? Get it clear and get it straight from the get go. If it is not clear, then there will be trouble if and when the brand or the trademark gets sold in the future. This is because in the absence of clarity on ownership; there will be a massive confusion as to who gets paid.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the do’s and don ts when it comes to filing your trademark; you can be better prepared when you file your trademark application. Till next time, avoid these mistakes and if needed, contact a trademark attorney if you ever find yourself lost!

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