How do you know if you should trademark your brand name, your logo, or your tagline?
And if so, when is the right time to do it?
In the short video below, you will learn about the top 10 signs you need to trademark right now, and 3 indicators that you actually don't.
Number one. You spend time, money, and energy advertising your brand. Now you spend countless hours and thousands of dollars running ads, exhibiting a tradeshow, attending networking events, creating marketing for your business because you want the world to know that you exist. You go out of your way, telling people about your products and services so they remember your brand name, your logo, your tagline, but here's the problem, until you've trademarked your brand, you don't own it. Technically, it's not your brand. And if someone trademarks it before you do, all you've done is build a valuable asset for someone else. Even if you choose to fight it in court, and even if you win, it will take you tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars and years! You will never get back. And what if you lose. How long would it take and what would it cost you to redo all your packaging, website, videos, and other marketing materials? That's why if you spend any time, money, and energy promoting your brand, make sure you trademark it ASAP because if it's worth promoting it's worth protecting.
Number two. You are considering expanding to multiple locations, franchising, or maybe seeking outside investors for your business. Imagine if McDonald's franchisee were not allowed to use McDonald's signs for their restaurants, that would make any sense at all. Why? Because when you franchise your business, the single most important thing you are selling is the right for the franchisees to operate under your brand. If you haven't trademarked your brand, you don't own your brand. And if you don't own your brand, what exactly do we expect your franchisees to pay you for? If potential buyers or investors in your business, see that you have neglected to protect her intellectual property. Don't be surprised if they drastically slashed your valuation. Trademarking is a long process that typically takes anywhere from nine months to two, three years from filing to registration. That's why if you plan to expand, sell licenses, or franchise your business, you need to take care of your trademarks well in advance.
Number three. Your brand is helping you generate new leads and convert prospects into customers. If you see that people search online for the name of your company, your products, or your services, it means that your brand is already working for you. People know, and remember it otherwise they wouldn't be searching for it. If your brand brings you, new customers, it's an asset worth owning. A tagline that moves people to buy from you is pure gold. You can be a huge competitive advantage, but once again, only if you own it. The reason Reebok and Adidas don't market their shirts and sneakers using the “just do it” tagline is not that they don't like it. It's because Nike has trademarked it. Nike's brand is valued at over $47 billion in large part due to these three simple words, “just do it”. So if your brand is helping you grow your business and you're still not sure if you should trademark it, just do it. You'll thank me later.
Number four. Your brand is starting to gain traction on social media. You've done all the hard work, building your online, following thousands of people recognize you and your brand. And it's great because it's a fact, most people will look for online reviews before they buy anything from you. What if someone took a free ride on your reputation and created a bunch of profiles mimicking your brand. What if the first thing people saw when they search for your brand online or negative reviews about these imposters and inferior products and services they sell under your brand? Most social media platforms have forms that allow business owners to report trademark infringement. But if you don't have a trademark, you have nothing to report to stop others from tarnishing your online reputation.
Number five, you have many competitors selling products and services similar to your own. The more competitive your industry, the more important your brand becomes with everyone selling the same thing being different is more important than ever. Being different is better than being better. If you're a restaurant or a gas station and accounting firm, a real estate agent, or an apparel company, your brand is the most recognizable asset that differentiates you from your competitors. But it only works if you've trademarked your brand.
Number six. Your customers come from all over the country or even from all over the world. This means that people no longer only buy from you because they know you personally. Your marketing and reputation have surpassed you. Congratulations. You have built a brand. Except and you're probably sick of hearing me say it by now, but it's a brand you don't own unless you trademark it. And if you don't own your brand, someone else will.
Number seven, you sell your products on Amazon. Amazon can be a great platform to reach millions of people with your products. However, the more sales and the more positive reviews you get. The greater that temptation you create for copycat from all over the world to sell poor quality versions of your product under your brand. Amazon has a way to help remove these knockoffs from the platform, but they need to make sure that you're the rightful owner of the brand. There are two ways you can do it. You can Sue the copycats and get a court order, declaring their knockoffs illegal. Or you can let Amazon know the number of your trademark registration. Spoiler alert, Guinea, a court order will cost you many, many, many times more than a trademark.
Number eight. You plan to stick around in business for some time. The longer you've been in business out of your brand, the higher the risk that someone has already hijacked it. There's a reason every single, truly successful business has trademarked their brand. Some took an easier road and trademarked it early on while it was cheap and simple. And some had to do it the hard way when they had to go through rebranding or spend millions of dollars to buy their brand from someone who had trademarked it first. But at the end of the day, they all owned their brands now. If you are hoping to join their ranks, you will end up trademarking your brand as well. The only question is whether you do it the right way at the right time.
Number nine. Rebranding would seriously hurt or even bankrupt you. Imagine if Apple, PayPal, Nike, Coca Cola, or make a wish foundation could no longer use their brand names. That would devastate them. Not because these are exceptionally great names. There's really nothing inherently amazing about using the word Apple to sell phones. But because millions of people around the world recognize and use these brands to make their buying decisions. Brand-building is not about coming up with a great brand. It's about owning a unique brand and letting it become great over time. That's why rebranding is so much less painful and expensive when nobody knows or cares about your brand. Just pick a brand you can own and take the necessary steps to trademark it. This way, you will build a foundation for a business that can confidently rely upon its brand for the years to come.
Number ten. You just want to do what's right for your business. Why do companies like Apple and Amazon own thousands of trademarks? Because they know that having a trademark you don't really need is much better than needing a trademark you can't have. One thing you will notice with established businesses is they trademark pretty much everything they can get their hands on. In the same way, you don't debate brushing your teeth in the morning. They don't debate trademarking brands for all their new products, new services feature logos and taglines, because it's just the right thing to do. If you realize that your brand is important to you, you always tell yourself your team, and your company to do whatever it takes to protect it. And the only way to protect your brand is to trademark. The investment in trademarking your brand is negligible compared to what it would cost you to fix the problems you may run into if you don't trademark your brand.
So this was the list of top 10 ways to tell that you need to trademark your brand right now. Once again, if even one of these 10 reasons matches your situation, you should trademark your brand right away. Having said that, there are three surefire signs that you don't need to trademark your brand. Here they are:
Number one. You just came up with a cute name, but have no idea what products or services you would offer to the market under that brand. Trademarks are designed to help entrepreneurs and companies prevent others from selling identical or similar products and services under the same or similar brand. If you don't intend to sell any products or deliver any services, which you came up with is not a brand. It's a fantasy. And you don't need to worry about trademarking yet.
Number two. You would not have a problem with someone else using the same brand to sell similar products and services. If you caught a competitor selling the same products or services under the same brand as yours, and you would still not do anything about it, there's no reason for you to waste your resources on trademarking. Now on the other hand, if you couldn't care less about your brand being used by others, without your permission, you should probably consider picking a different brand.
And finally, number three. It will not cost you anything financially or emotionally to switch to a different brand if you had to. Imagine a situation where someone hijacked your brand, trademarked it, and sent you a demand letter requesting that you immediately seize using what you thought was your brand. If you could walk away from your brand without any emotional distress, reputational damage, or financial loss. You don't need to trademark that brand. Instead, you should consider switching to a brand worth trademarking.
So there you have it. You don't need to trademark your brand if you don't use or plan to use it for real business. And you don't need to trademark your brand if it's absolutely worthless. Beyond that, once you come up with a brand that might become a valuable asset for you and your business, you should trademark it right away. When you have properly trademark your brand, you are in control. If you haven't, you are at the mercy of ruthless competitors, greedy lawyers, and unscrupulous copycats.
If after watching this video, you realize that you need to trademark your brand. And if you would like to trademark it with a guaranteed result for a guaranteed budget, follow the link below and the Trademark Factory team will be happy to help you. And until then, I'll see you in the next video.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.