So, having spent thousands of dollars to create and market his company (and its spiffy new slogan), Joe was shocked to receive a Cease & Desist letter from a competitor—just weeks before his marketing campaign was set to launch. The other kayaking equipment company was monitoring Joe's trademark filing and threatening to file suit should Joe's company use the slogan in the marketplace. Why? Because Joe's slogan was confusingly similar to the one used by the other company.
As you can imagine, Joe called the online trademarking service in a panic. He was devastated to discover that all the service did was "process the paperwork," and they advised hire a trademark attorney. (Which is, of course, what he should have done in the first place.)
A proper search and opinion by an attorney prior to filing for the trademark would have identified the potential problem long before Joe spent a dime to develop his marketing and PR campaigns. Sadly, by the time I heard from Joe, it was too late. There was nothing I could do to help him. He had to scrap all the marketing materials, news releases and advertisements that featured the now-abandoned slogan and start from scratch.
So, how much did Joe "save" by hiring a "document preparation and filing service" instead of an attorney? Only about $600. (Ironically, that's less than Joe was prepared to spend on a single print ad.)
How much did it cost him? It was easily a five-figure mistake!
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. It's the only real way to prevent a competitor from committing "corporate identity theft."
What's more, federal trademark protection entitles you to use of the "®" symbol to identify your goods or services. And federal registration can also entitle you to higher damage payments and other remedies should you need to protect your trademark in a court of law.
And speaking of damages, what have you done to ensure that your company name and product/service names don't infringe on another owner's trademarks? (At least Joe was lucky that his competitor sent him a Cease and Desist letter instead of just suing him!)
You can avoid potential civil fines and damages for trademark infringement by searching the records of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office before you start your new business. Before you hire a logo designer, invest in printing, signage, advertising and other expenses, be sure that no one else has already registered your business, product, or service names.
I cover all this in Protecting Your Trademark Rights. It's free report that could save you thousands. And remember, you'll also receive a voucher for a FREE Consultation on protecting your company or product brand names.
Another one of my clients (I'll call her "Jona Davis") could really have used a copy of our Free Report. She thought she could protect her business by simply registering every domain name that was similar to the name of her company. (For the sake of argument, let's call it "NewStartup.com.") In addition to the "dot-com" extension, Jona registered the .net, .org, .biz, .us, .mobi, .info and .tv extensions.
I thought there was no way anyone could trample my company's good name," she told me. "I figured, at $9 a year for each extension, registering the domain names is a bargain compared to getting a trademark filed."
Somehow her "dot-net" domain name slipped through the cracks and expired without her noticing. She came to us when she discovered that a competitor had snapped up the expired domain name before she could renew it.
One of the first things I asked: "Did you file for a trademark to protect the domain name?" That's when she explained that registering all those domain names was "a lot cheaper than hiring an attorney" to file a trademark application. So I asked her bout the new extensions that are available-like dot-cn, com.cn, ne.cn and others. "And have you registered all the variations of your domain name that are available?" Just off the top of my head I thought of . . .
- New-Start-Up.com or NewStart-Up.com or New-Startup.com
"And what about the .net, .biz, .org and other extensions for any of the above variations?", I asked. When her face fell, I had my answer.
Registering a domain name only prevents a competitor from using that EXACT domain name. (At least, until you forget to renew it.) But there's no limit to the number of "creative" variations of your domain name your competitors can register—leaving your business completely vulnerable.
A federal trademark would have prevented Jona's competitors from using the IDENTICAL trademark, as well as any confusingly similar variations. (You still may want to get a few other domain variations for good measure, but you don’t have to go crazy if you have the federal registration.)
The truth is, domain names cost you money each and every year, whereas a federal trademark is forever. And you only have to deal with periodic renewals and other filings every five or ten years. Jona learned the hard way that her "cheap" solution was hardly a bargain.
It's so easy to avoid the mistakes that both Jona and Joe made. Learn more in our free report,
Protecting Your Trademark Rights By Gold & Rizvi, P.A. — The Idea Attorneys®
John Rizvi, Esq.
Gold & Rizvi, P.A. — The Idea Attorneys®
Email John Rizvi directly.
P.S. Remember, federal trademark protection is the only way to legally protect yourself from trademark infringement by a competitor. Don't take the chance of losing your hard-earned brand equity. Download the free report today.
P.P.S. For a limited time business owners to downloading the free report are eligible to receive a free consultation tailored to their specific company name or brand identity.