Clients often ask “when should I register my trademark?” The answer is as early as as you can. There are many benefits to registering your trademark early in your brand development process and an examination of the two main components of the trademark filing process explains why.
A comprehensive clearance search should be one of the first steps of any trademark registration project and is included in my Flat Fee Trademark Registration Package. The purpose of a comprehensive search is to identify any similar or confusing marks that are already in use. The search gives the business owner and trademark team the necessary information to put together a successful trademark registration strategy.
On the other hand, failing to properly search for conflicting marks puts your business at risk of having to rebrand in the future. Imagine spending years of resources developing a logo or brand name that becomes identified with your product only to receive a cease and desist from another business that has registered a similar mark with the USPTO. Rebranding can be devastating to a small business from a financial and consumer goodwill perspective. Performing a comprehensive search early, prior to investing your resources in extensive brand development, is a savvy investment for any small business owner.
The second component is the actual registration of your trademark with the USPTO. The USPTO gives examination priority to applications by filing date, meaning that if two or more conflicting applications are under review, the application that was filed first will be reviewed by a USPTO examining attorney first. The subsequent filers will have to wait until the outcome of the first filed application before their applications are reviewed. And at the end of the day, the sooner you file your trademark application, the sooner you will legally own the exclusive rights over the use of your brand and the sooner you will have the strongest legal tools at your disposal to protect your brand.
Having said all of that, and while earlier is always better, it is also never too late to start the process of protecting your brand with federal trademark registration. As always feel free to Contact Alex to discuss the post or to get started on registering your trademarks.