One of the most common mistakes of an entrepreneur, and some owners of well-established businesses, is to confuse the trademark registration with the commercial registration of the company.
Register your company name does not mean you will be protecting the trademark name or the graphic image of the same, only implies that no other company could invoice with the same brand name as you. However, registering your tardemark, allows you to be the only one entitled to use that brand name or logo.
For example, imagine that you own a company called "Wingo" who provides vehicle polishing services. When you created your company, you registered the company and obtained a tax identification number to bill your customers, and pay taxes, but you did not register your brand. Although you have been in the market for ten tears and have dozens of loyal customers, last month somebody decided to call "Wingo" his new car services project, investigated if the name was available before the Patent and Trademark Office and registered the trademark. In that moment, he got the right to use the brand name you built over the years.
Now, since your company name is "Wingo CA", you are not forced to change it and you can continue billing with such name. However, your stationery, website, business cards, logo and all external communication -to the public-, must be changed because the name now belongs to someone else and you could be legally penalized.
So, what are the benefits of registering a trademark?
1. You can make exclusive use of the name and logo.
2. You can profit from the value of your trademark.
3. Could franchise, license or sell your brand.
Can I register my trademark prior to the commercial registration? Yes, it is not mandatory to have a registered company for trademark registration. Later, you could make an assignment of the company brand. The most important thing is to protect the name and logo from scratch.
What is the process you must follow to register my trademark?
1. Come to an specialist like us, who will provide advice for the protection and registration of trademarks and patents to your company. After determining your needs, we define a protection strategy and then do the searching process in the the classes required before the Patents and Trademarks Office in order to verify prior registrations of the name by someone else. This can take from one to four days.
2. We then introduce the trademark application until the publication is ordered if required, which occurs about 4 months later.
3. Finally, we should expect between 6 to and 12 months which varies from country to country, to get the trademark granted.
While the process can be made personally, it is always advisable to go through specialized companies, since we provide advice and monitor the process. Once granted, we will track your brand during the years of its validity and inform you when to renew it.
Although not mandatory, because you can always use your brand without registration, register it is very important because it allows you to protect your ideas and profit from them safely.