How a Trademark Mistake Cost a Business Owner Five-Figures
Do you know how much money your business would lose if you were forced to shut your doors for a day? A week? A month? Well, if you are making the one trademark mistake I’m about to share with you, then you could be putting all of that income at risk. As a Florida trademark attorney practicing for over 15 years in this specialized area of law, I am no longer surprised by the consequences of simple mistakes made by business owners but they are always disheartening.
Here’s the story…
"Joe" – the owner of an online kayaking equipment retailer – hired an ad agency to create buzz for his company’s online debut. They created an expensive marketing campaign complete with catchy slogans…news releases… ads…and media kits.
All the bells and whistles.
But when it came to protecting his company’s name, Joe decided to do it "on the cheap" and failed to properly file for a trademark. This seemingly minor mistake nearly strangled his small company before it ever got off the ground.
Confusingly Similar Trademark = Thousands down the drain
Here’s what happened…
Weeks before Joe’s marketing campaign was set to launch he received a piece of paper – a Cease & Desist letter – from a competitor. It turns out the trademark filing service he used didn’t tell him the entire truth.
You see, while the service filed the paperwork just like Joe paid them to do…they never bothered to tell Joe to research if the slogans he was planning to use in the marketing campaign were already "confusingly similar" to his competitors.
Joe just figured since they filed the paperwork, he was protected. In the end Joe had to scrap his entire marketing campaign (of which he spent at least five figures on).
What a Trademark Attorney Will do for You
A proper search and opinion by a trademark attorney prior to filing for the trademark would have saved Joe a ton of time and money by identifying his campaign as being "confusingly similar" to his competitors.
Preventing competitors from using "confusingly similar" language, images or slogans is just one way a trademarks protect a company’s business identity.
More than just allowing you to put a little "R" symbol next to your slogan trademark registration benefits you in many ways. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trademarks give you:
- Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner’s claim.
- Evidence of ownership of the trademark.
- Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked.
- Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries.
- Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
Joe found out the hard way that obtaining a federal trademark on your company’s name, brands, slogans, logos, Internet domains, or other identifying marks is the only way to legally protect your company against confusingly similar uses by competitors.
Don’t make the same mistake Joe made. Prevent "corporate identity theft" with a trademark.