Introduction

A trademark is the first public act of branding for a company. It is the one branding element that hopefully will never have to change. A well established brand identity engenders customer awareness, loyalty, association and perceived quality. In the present market of endless “similar” products and services, company trademarks and the brands they represent are often the most valuable assets a company owns.

However, there are many mistakes a company may make when adopting and beginning to use a trademark for its services or products. For example, companies often adopt trademarks that will never achieve protection and federal registration.

Moreover, trademarks are often neglected by companies who do not understand the potential damages they can suffer as a result of their own misuse of their trademarks or the unchecked and unauthorized use of their trademarks by others. Furthermore, a company’s failure to determine whether a trademark is already being used before adoption and use of the trademark may leave the company open for a claim of trademark infringement.

Accordingly, careful selection, clearance, registration, and maintenance of trademarks and constant monitoring of the competition to ensure the trademarks are not being used by anyone else will help a company to protect the value built in its trademarks and minimize the potential for law suits.

By implementing the practices taught in this series, a company can build a sure brand and trademark foundation for its business – one that will position it strategically, cut through the marketplace clutter, and pay off in the long run during any acquisition, joint venture, merger, or litigation.