Philadelphia, PA- If you sell products or services and usually use the name of your business or have a specific work of art that goes with that, you need to get a trademark or you will face the consequence of someone else who will claim your commercial symbol or name and can virtually stop you from using said symbol or name in commercial dealings.
Now, I would not be writing about this topic if I had not done it myself first. For Q Hubo News we filed the trademark application which allow us to secure the rights of the commercial name “Q Hubo News” but the process is not done yet, once the application is filled it takes months before getting approval or denial. Of course, we did our due diligence to know if there were any other company using that commercial name and there were not any other business or individuals who hold the right to use that commercial name until we came!
Filling a trademark application is also more complex than that, it is not a one size fits all process. You actually need to specify what kind of commercial activity you are using the name for because there are many commercial classifications that you can file for, but you will have to pay more for each unique classification you would like to commercially use your name or symbol for.
If you are ever speaking with a lawyer who is selling you their service to file a trademark application, here are some useful questions or statements for them:
- “I only want to use the trademark for the following commercial purposes (list them)
- “Could you break down your cost of service, so I have an idea what exactly I am paying for? (A lot of times the lawyer himself or herself is not the one doing the filling but one of their paralegals which is fine, but you want to ensure that you know why they are charging a certain amount)
- “I did the research, and my commercial name or symbol is not being used, here is the proof (provide the proof) could proceed with the filling?”
- How much time will I have to wait to get the final decision from the USTPO office?
- Is there any other fee I will have to pay later?
- What should I expect after filling the application?
- Can I use the symbol TM now that I filled the application?
For your reference, the term USTPO is the name of the US government office that oversees these types of legal applications that have to do with trademarks & patents (another article about patents will come soon (I need to do my filling first!)
The symbol TM means Trademark and it is used to tell the world that “Hey! I am in the process of owning this trademark so watch out! Do not dare to use this name of symbol unless you pay me or I give you permission 😉”
Usually getting approval has to do with different factors, legal and non-legal, to determine if your trademark can be granted. That is why you should do research about using a commercial name before officially launching said name for commercial purposes. It is a good idea to pay someone to help you do the research to double and triple check that the commercial name or symbol you’d like to use is not used by someone.
But why do you need and should want to own the trademark of your business name or symbol? Because you will need that legal protection should you file a lawsuit against someone that is using your commercial name or symbol, you should want to protect your brand against others who are seeking to take advantage of business owners who do not understand the power of owning a trademark.
This is a marketing tactic that is not spoken about much because it requires some understanding of what the process entails to get the legal rights to your commercial name or symbol. The process can take a while specifically when you have not done the research on what is needed to file a trademark application with the USTPO office.
If you are in business and want to protect your brand, make sure you do the due diligence to ensure that 1) you can use that name or symbol 2) you file the application.
I usually do my own fillings because I want to learn what it takes to do the job so that whenever I hire someone else to do it, I know how much it would be worth. I also do it because it is fun, and I enjoy learning new skills like these.
Do you want to protect your brand? If so, do you need help with the process? Let me know!