If you're an entrepreneur trying to grow your business, and if you haven't trademarked your brand, there's one thing you need to know.
Without a filed trademark application, you are wasting your time, money, and energy building a brand that:
① you can never own; or that
② someone can take away from you at any time.
If someone had already trademarked a brand similar to the one you have in mind, you are essentially building someone else’s brand. It’s just a matter of time before they notice you and force you to rebrand and pay them every dime you made under what turns out to be THEIR brand—or even more. Or, you may be lucky and your brand is still trademarkable today.
But guess what?
This doesn’t mean it will be available tomorrow. Thousands of trademark applications are filed every day. Any one of these trademark applications could easily crush your hopes for your brand’s future. What’s worse is that, literally, every single day you pass up on protecting your brand, you expose yourself and your business to more and more of these risks.
But, of course, if you don’t believe you can build a truly successful business, I’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t need to trademark your brand. Not now—not ever. After all, a brand with no potential to:
- Help people find your business
- Help them remember your offer (so they come back); or
- Encourage them to buy from you
...is NOT worth trademarking.
But, if that’s the case, you should take it one step further and ask yourself, “Why have a brand like this at all?” Assuming that's not you... Assuming you value your brand or what you hope to make of it in the future, let me give you 5 reasons why trademarking your brand should be your #1 priority as a business owner.
#1: Trademarking takes a long time. On average, it will take over a year for your trademark to go through all stages from filing to registration. It means that if you think you might need a trademark in 6 months, you're already half a year too late.
#2: There are no other legal ways to protect your brand. Incorporating your company, registering an LLC, registering a domain name and a bunch of social media profiles, copyrighting your logo, putting a TM sign next to your name—NONE of this will protect your brand. It's common sense, really. If it was possible to securely protect your brand without trademarks, companies and entrepreneurs like you wouldn't be filing millions of trademarks every single year. It's not that they don't know about the TM symbol, incorporations, or domain names. It's precisely because they KNOW that none of it works.
#3: If someone files a trademark application to protect a brand SIMILAR to yours even ONE DAY before you do, you may be forced to rebrand. Notice that I said SIMILAR. Their brand doesn't even need to be the same as yours. Also notice that I said that even if they FILE their trademark a day before, you could be toast. They don't even need to have it registered. You know, with real estate they always say, location, location, location? Well, with trademarks, it's timing, timing, timing. Whoever does it first, wins.
#4: If you are considering selling, licensing, franchising, or expanding your business, FORGET about it if you don't have your brand trademarked. At best, someone is going to grab your company for pennies on the dollar, because your valuation is going to take a massive hit. In many cases, you will not be able to find investors, franchisees, licensors, or buyers for your business at all. And again, remember, the trademarking process takes a year on average...
#5: If you have a registered trademark, you can quickly and effectively deal with infringement of your brand on online platforms like Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and pretty much all others. All you need to do is provide them with the number of trademark registration certificates, give them a link that shows infringing use, and they'll take care of everything on your behalf. BUT this only works for trademarks that are already registered. So if you care about your online reputation (and in today's world EVERYONE should), getting your brand trademarked is no longer optional. It's no longer something you can afford to think about. It's a must-have.
Now, one last thing. Don't think that I'm saying all this because I'm in the business of selling trademarking services. Trust me, if you choose not to trademark your brand through Trademark Factory®, I'll still be OK. With over 700,000 trademarks filed in the U.S. alone in 2020, there are enough brand owners out there who value their brands. Enough business owners who want to get their trademarks done right.
On the other hand, if someone snatches your brand from under your nose, how would you feel knowing you could have trademarked it today but CHOSE not to do it? What will you do when you wake up one day to a demand letter claiming you don't own what you thought was your brand? A brand you poured your heart and soul into? A brand you've invested time, money, and energy in?
My name is Andrei Mincov. I'm the founder of Trademark Factory®. I've been working in the field of intellectual property for over 20 years, and I've heard too many heartbreaking stories like that over my career.
Don't become part of the sad statistic. Jump on the trademarking train today!