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Trademark Your Brand

Is Your Brand Trademarkable?

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Not every brand will apply for a registered trademark, but if you want to create a strong brand image that communicates your brand characteristics effectively and stands out in the marketplace, then looking at trademark requirements can be a good place to start.

You probably (or at least hopefully) put some thought into your business name when you first started out. If you went through a formal branding process, you probably know that a purely descriptive name is difficult to differentiate. The more ‘generic’ the word or phrase, the less likely you will stand out from the competition, and the less likely you will achieve trademark status. That’s one of the reasons we see so many invented words and creative spellings (think ‘Zappos’ or ‘Groupon’) as well as arbitrary words that are claimed in a given space (think ‘Apple’ to mean computers or ‘Amazon’ to mean a vast online marketplace). Beyond the name, itself, you have to create a brand character and brand imagery that effectively communicates about your vision, your mission and your business culture. And of course, you need to make sure you can register a suitable domain name.

If you have an existing company that needs to re-brand itself, you can throw into the mix the fact that your company’s leadership, employees (including different departments and locations), and your customers may all have different, pre-existing ideas about your brand.

Balancing all these variables for a brand name and image that will last for the long haul is no small task, and not to be taken lightly. That is why a formal branding process is so much more than simply logo design, and can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete. And once you’ve gone through all that work, it makes sense to trademark your brand, to protect what you’ve built.

In 2014, Entrepreneur Magazine listed 7 Reasons Why Trademarks Are Important To Your Business, which still hold true:

  • Trademarks are an effective tool for communicating about your brand
  • Trademarks make it easier for customers to find you
  • Trademarks make your online & social media presence more effective
  • Trademarks are assets that add value to your business
  • Recognizable trademarks can make hiring easier
  • Trademarks never expire, as long as they’re in use
  • And all the value that trademarks provide come at a relatively low price

Registering a trademark can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars, if you do it yourself, to $1,000 or more, if you enlist experienced legal help (which we highly recommend). It can also take up to a year from the time you apply for a trademark to the time it is finally approved and registered. But it’s well worth the time, effort, and expense, to protect a well-built brand.

If you’re looking for experienced guidance to create or re-imagine one of your brands, we hope you will contact us for a proposal and estimate specific to your project. We’d love to help.

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