Buy Trademarks: Everything You Need to Know
If you're planning to buy trademarks, you should know that this step will protect your business, identifying where your goods or services come from. 3 min read
2. What is a Trademark?
3. Picking a Trademark
4. Performing a Trademark Background Search
5. Buying and Selling Trademarks
If you're planning to buy trademarks, you should know that this step will protect your business, identifying where your goods or services come from. Although you can certainly register a trademark in your state, federal registration is far superior, protecting you on a national basis.
Here is what you can expect from this process.
What is a Trademark?
In order to answer this question, we have outlined some basic facts regarding trademarks and their importance to your business:
A trademark is a symbol, design, word, or phrase; it can also be any combination of these. It is intended to differentiate the source of the trademark. The name of a company or person, specific sounds, and business logos/symbols can all be legally registered.
As mentioned, federal registration is recommended. This step offers many benefits, including your mark being officially registered to your business, greater validity, and the ability to take action regarding your trademark.
The first entity to use a trademark will be granted with protection based on the geographic location of operation, even if the mark is registered. When you do claim the rights to a trademark, you can then include the 'TM' (trademark) or 'SM' (service mark) symbol.
Examples include the Nike 'Swoosh' and NBC's chimes. Even Julia Roberts' name is registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Infringing on these trademarks or any other is a serious offense.
With the rise of the Internet, domain names are now highly accessible and in many cases, inexpensive. This is why it is recommended that you register your name, especially if you believe that it could be threatened by a cybersquatter, which is someone who will register your company's name or trademark as a domain name in order to sell it to you, the rightful owner.
Although you can use a trademark you have created to identify your goods or services, filing an application can legally protect you. This means that if there is any dispute, you can take action in a court of law.
Picking a Trademark
You may want to protect your product, service, or overall brand, but how do you pick a trademark?
When deciding on your trademark, know that it cannot already be in use, it cannot be too generic, and it must meet all USPTO requirements.
An ideal trademark will be innovative and arbitrary, yet not overly descriptive.
If you were the first to use your trademark, yet the mark is already registered, your application will likely be rejected. At this point, you should obtain legal representation.
For internet businesses, registered web extensions are not generally recommended. It is better to register a trademark without the extension, as this will prevent others from using the business name by simply adding a different web extension.
Performing a Trademark Background Search
Before you buy trademarks, you must perform a background search. This will help you uncover whether or not a trademark is in use. Begin by searching the USPTO's trademark search database. You should also research possible trademarks at the state level.
Based on this search, you can then register your trademark. This will require a specific application to be filed, which comes with a $275 fee. Although this can be a straightforward process, an attorney will offer all legal assistance. At the very least, businesses should seek advice from a lawyer, especially when there is intellectual property at stake.
Once you apply, you should receive a response within six months.
Buying and Selling Trademarks
You can also sell your trademark if it is no longer of value to you or your brand. For those purchasing a trademark, it can be cost-effective to invest in brands that are already established. This will allow you to save money on market testing and development, while avoiding associated startup costs.
When seeking advice from an attorney, also be sure to ask about cybersquatter infringement. Under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, a trademark owner can sue when people use their trademark with bad intentions. Once again, this is why legally registering your trademark is imperative to long-term growth and success. If you want to protect your brand, this process should not be overlooked.
If you need help with business trademarks, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies such as Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.