Company owners need to understand what rights a trademark provides, what it protects and how registering helps to determine if it is right for them.

Texas businesses may benefit from creating a trademark for their goods or services. However, not every company needs to create a trademark to protect intellectual property. Intellectual property can also be protected by trade secrets, copyrights and patents. Company owners can learn more about what a trademark does to figure out if it is or is not right for their business.

Consider the rights it provides

As business owners try to figure out if they need to get a trademark, they may want to understand what rights a trademark provides. Trademarks do not necessarily stop everyone else from using a mark, instead it provides exclusive rights to a certain mark within an industry or business category.

If a company specializing in printers registered its brand name, for example, it would have exclusive rights to the mark within that category of business. If a restaurant owner wanted to use a similar name, the trademark likely would not prevent him or her from using the name because the two businesses fall into different categories. Establishing a trademark can help a person stop others in the same industry from using the same or similar mark.

Understand what it protects

Trademarks are usually used to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by copycat companies. If someone goes out to buy a John Deere tractor, he or she can easily differentiate this brand from the others because the company has exclusive use of their signature green. An inferior brand of tractor cannot mimic the look of a John Deere to trick buyers into purchasing the lower-quality product.

Trademarks can be applied to products or services being sold to consumers. The trademark can protect various aspects of the goods or services, including the following or a combination of the following:

  • Brand name
  • Color scheme
  • Logo
  • Characters
  • Emblems
  • Shape

In other words, a trademark can be used to protect the logos of a company as well as the physical appearance of a product.

Decide whether it needs registered

Businesses can choose to use a trademark without officially registering it with the Patent and Trademark Office. However, for some companies it may be more beneficial to actually register a mark. Registration gives public notice to other companies of the use of a trademark. If another company were to infringe the trademark, the original business could use the registration to help prove who had it first.

For many companies in Texas, protecting their intellectual property is a major part of success. Business owners can turn to attorneys who are familiar with this part of business law to get help instituting the best form of intellectual property protection for their unique company.