Still not convinced that you need a trademark? Today on The Legalpreneur, I list my top 5 benefits that are exclusively available to federal trademark holders! Some basic protections are available without a trademark, such as the use of the ™ symbol, but obtaining a trademark ensures comprehensive protection of your brand on all fronts.
Filing for a trademark currently takes about 13 months to fully process, but it is an investment that pays off. Once your trademark becomes public knowledge the courts generally rule in your favor, since it is difficult for infringers to feign ignorance of your trademark. Having that public record would classify these violations as willful infringement, which means additional damages and attorney fees are awarded, simply because of your federal trademark!
You can also count on customs agents to enforce your trademark. They will stop unauthorized products from leaving or entering the country, which allows you to maintain better control of your intellectual property. These safeguards are only available once you have secured your federal trademark. It is time-consuming and expensive, but the cost of operating your business without a trademark is guaranteed to be much steeper. Don’t wait, and start your application today!
[2:00] Securing the use of the R-Circle symbol
[2:50] Registering with customs to stop trademark infringements
[4:00] Submitting online takedowns
[6:00] Obtaining a domain name that is in use
[7:15] Additional damages and attorney fees from willful infringement
[8:25] Trademarks take an average of 13 months to process
The Legalpreneur Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney on these topics. Copyright Legalpreneur Inc 2022
Andrea Sager 00:03
Welcome to the Legalpreneur podcast. I’m your host Andrea Sager founder and CEO of Legalpreneur Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business. I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your business’s growth, and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves. In true attorney fashion, the information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only.
Andrea Sager 00:37
And you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show. Hello, there, welcome back. Happy Monday. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I have a lot to share with you today about trademarks. And basically we’re going to cover the five things you can do once you have a federal trademark registration. And these are things that you can now do that you couldn’t do before you have the federal registration. Now, before we get into it, of course, I have to tell you about our upcoming affiliate only launch. Basically, if you’re not sure what an affiliate is, you promote our products, and we pay you a commission when somebody purchases with your custom link.
Andrea Sager 01:22
We have done many of these. But this is the first time that we’re doing an affiliate only launch, which means basically, sometimes people feel like they’re competing with us for a sale. And this launch, the product is not available to the public, people can only purchase with your custom affiliate link, so you’re not competing with us. If people purchase and they purchase with the URL link, you are getting an affiliate commission and you’re getting a higher commission than the normal affiliate payout that we offer. Plus, we have some prizes in there for the top three sales. And who wants to say no to free money, nobody. So go to the Legalpreneur.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up to become an affiliate, we’ll get you all the information sent. Make sure you get that done ASAP, because the launch is coming up pretty quickly. And I don’t want you to miss out. Okay, so the five things you can do once you get a federal trademark registration, this is going to be really helpful. Once you have the registration. Now. Go back we have so much information about trademarks, you know how to get it on your own, we obviously we have a lot of support. And we talk about benefits of it. So many episodes on trademarks. But this is specifically what you can now do once you have the registration. Number one, you can use the our circle symbol, this is the pretty registered symbol, do not use this, if you do not have the registration, even if you’re in the process, you cannot use this R symbol. Because if you use it and you don’t have a federal registration, the trademark office views that as fraud.
Andrea Sager 03:00
And you can get in a lot of trouble. I’m not saying I’ve ever heard of anybody getting in trouble for it. But if the trademark office, especially if you’re in the process, the application process, and the trademark office is going through all your documents your website and they see the R circle symbol and you’re not registered, they can refuse your application. If you’re already using it. Most people do it by mistake because they don’t know. But LG listening to this, you know, so don’t make the mistake. Okay, number two, once you have the registration, you can register with customs. So basically, if you have products manufactured and they’re imported, or if you know people infringing on your products, importing them, you can have customs stop them. But you have to have the federal trademark registration. This is really helpful with brands that are constantly being ripped off. They’re constantly having people infringe on their trademarks. And once you have a federal registration, you can take that to customs, and they will help you stop those infringers. It’s really, really beneficial to have customs on your side. I always hear boutique owners hear about customs and Homeland Security going to raid like a flea market or they’ve even like raided somebody’s house. That’s because those brands that they’re infringing on they’ve registered with customs, they’ve taken the steps necessary to have customs actually do that for them. You don’t have to be the one doing it. So that’s how you can help with enforcement as well.
Andrea Sager 04:30
Another one, which is actually my favorite benefit once you have the registration is submitting online takedowns a lot of time I hear people worried about enforcing their trademark because they don’t have a lot of money. We all hear like oh your registration is only worth the paper that it’s printed on if you don’t have the money to sue somebody. That’s actually not true. I mean, at one point was like before the internet became as big as it is today. I think that was true. However because I Everybody’s conducting business online, we leave it up to the internet people to enforce our trademark. So once you have a federal trademark registration, let’s say you find somebody infringing on Instagram, Facebook, tick tock et Cie. They have a Shopify website, you just go to those websites and submit the trademark takedown form. Every online platform has this. And they will all work with you. However, you have to have a federal trademark registration. When you hear about a lot of people getting shut down, especially like boutique owners, or people selling products online, if you hear them getting shut down, because they were selling Louis Vuitton or I’ve, you know, Dallas Cowboys, I’ve heard that one a lot. They’re getting shut down, because those trademark owners went to the platform’s to get them shut down, they don’t have to sue them, because they know it’s not worth it to sue.
Andrea Sager 05:54
So they are all pursuing these alternative remedies, because it’s not worth it to sue, they’re not going to make money, they’re not going to get the other party to pay damages. And so you have to make sure that you are enforcing your registration online. And you don’t even have to have an attorney do it for you. We can we absolutely Legalpreneur can do it for you. But you can also do it yourself. I always suggest getting help with your trademark registrations, and then we provide a lot of ways to enforce it on your own. Okay, number four, once you have a trademark registration, you can possibly get a domain name that you don’t have. Now, this isn’t always the case. But let’s say somebody else has the domain name, or somebody has the domain name, but it’s just parked, they’re just trying to sell it that’s called cybersquatting. If the website has never been used for legitimate business purpose that’s called cybersquatting. Once you have the trademark registration, you can file a claim. Basically, there’s domain name courts, and you file a claim with one of them. And that you can get the domain name without paying the other party. Now this can get kind of tricky, because if they’re trying to sell the domain for $500 $1,000, you may want to just go ahead and spend that money because you’re going to spend more on an attorney.
Andrea Sager 07:14
So as long as you can actually get the domain name for less than what you’ll spend on an attorney, I would go ahead and spend that money. Or maybe you don’t, you’re like I just want to stick it to him not give them a dime, I’d rather pay the courts, that’s fine. But just make sure that you are aware of all the information. Okay, number five, willful infringement. If you have a federal trademark registration, and you have to sue somebody in court, you can get additional damages and attorney fees because you had the registration that shows willful infringement on the other party, because your federal trademark registration is public knowledge, it is out there for the world to see. And they still decided to infringe. So that shows willful infringement, and you can get additional damages, plus attorney fees in a trademark lawsuit. All right, those are the five things use the R circle symbol, the pretty one, you can use the TM symbol without a registration. Even without applying, you can always use the TN symbol. But once you have the registration, you can use the R circle symbol. Then you can register with customs, submit trademark takedowns online, get your domain name and get additional damages because it shows willful infringement. All right.
Andrea Sager 08:26
I hope you all are getting those trademark applications filed if you need help you know where to find us. Don’t wait because right now, I know I’ve said this many times. But right now the total time is taking at least 13 months from the date you file your application to the date you can get registered is at least 13 months. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to wait that long to have registration. All right. That’s all I got for you. I’ll see you next time. Here at Legalpreneur, we’re committed to providing a supportive legal community. For all business owners. I know how scary the legal stuff can be. If you found this information helpful, I would be so grateful if you could share it with a fellow business owner. And quite frankly, it doesn’t cost anything to rate review or subscribe to the show. Your support helps me reach more listeners which allows me to support more business owners in their entrepreneurial journey. Have any questions or comments about the show? Feel free to drop me a line on Instagram. I promise I read all of the messages and comments. And if you want to be a guest on the show or know someone that would make a great guest simply fill out our application form and a team member will reach out if we think it’s a good fit. I’ll see you in the next episode.