A trademark also termed a service mark is in the form of a symbol, phrase, or design that helps in distinguishing the goods from that of others. It helps in giving your business an individual and secure identity. If you are planning to secure your intellectual property you need to register the trademark which will restrict others from using your brand’s identity illegally.
Trademark, Copyright, Or Patent- What’s The Difference?
All these three types of intangible properties protect different business assets. The trademark is used to secure the brand name, services, and logos. However, the copyrights protect the work of authorship which includes written documents, blogs, content, books, and business strategies. Now comes the third category which is patent– it secures the inventions to be used to manufacture or sell.
The Need to Trademark a Company’s Identity
Whether you get a domain name from a domain service provider or register your brand name officially you still have to get their trademarks legally. The domain you register is only associated with the web address. It may happen that if you do not register a trademark your business name or logo can conflict with the rights of any other already existing identity.
In such a case, you may have to bear a penalty fee as well with a termination of your business entity. So, even after registering your business name through a state registration system, you must obtain the trademark to avoid the occurrence of confusion.
Similarity of Marks
To avoid the occurrence of two similar marks, each of the trademarks is scrutinized and thoroughly examined. To avoid confusion, the marks must not be identical. The selected mark must not show similarity in any way from the visual presentation to the pronunciation of the word in any language.
It should be unique in every region. There must not be any similarity in terms of sound, meaning, and appearance. Here is an example of marks that can be considered as similar.
In terms of sound:
In terms of meaning:
How To Secure Your Intellectual Property?
Now let’s discuss some of the points to secure your intellectual property:
Just when you plan on inventing a new thing or pondering creating a business strategy that is not yet established, you need to first ensure its security. You have to get the copyrights, register the trademark, and patent your model.
You might think that if anyone tries to steal your invention or copy it, you will file a case or take any legal notice. But things are too twisted and complicated that all of it is hard to do. Therefore, you need to first understand all the ways through which you can lose your secret or important information.
For instance, if you have discussed the important aspects of your project with any employee who must have a social circle. If that person shares your information with anybody who quickly uses it for their own good before you can present your model, you will not be able to even claim that property as yours. Therefore, first, keep an eye on the loopholes and secure your strategy before implementing it if you think there is a possibility of losing your data.
The next step is to keep a check on all those places where you have placed or discussed your intellectual property. You may have shared the idea through emails or have discussed it with someone through messages and voice notes. You need to get them removed. Let nobody knows about your plan until you get it secured. It happened so many times when people have regretted sharing their ideas with people who have used them for their own good.
Create Non-Disclosure Contracts for Employees
The best way is to create a non-disclosure certificate and document for your employees. If you want your employees to comply with your terms to secure your business model it’s best to create a non-disclosure certificate where every point and circumstance will be mentioned.
It will add more legal clarity and help you stay satisfied. The following are the important agreements that you can ask your employees to sign.
- A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
- Secrecy Agreement (SA)
- Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA)
- Proprietary Information Agreement (PIA)
Implement Security Measures
You must be operating most parts of your business through technology which now you have to secure. Secure every channel or platform where you have added or shared crucial information about your business model. Set passwords and encrypt data to avoid any intruders or scams.
Get VPN support to a protected Wi-Fi connection, anything that can let you secure your business and its platforms. You can even invest some money in getting access to a reliable project management tool where the information can be shared safely.
Avoid Joint Ownership
Never plan to go for a joint collaboration over intellectual property. In most cases, joint collaboration creates problems and ends up in conflicts. In joint collaborations, the rights to patents and copyrights are granted to more than one member.
In this way, everything is split among the many members with whom the collaboration is formed. In such a case during the situation, a chaos problem may arise for the split of property.
File Your Application to Register Intellectual Property
You can either hire a legal attorney or file the application yourself. If you hire an attorney, he will take care of all the legal proceedings. Will guide you descriptively about the things connected to your trademark applications and how you can secure your complete business venture.
As per the US trademark laws you will be asked to have a U.S.-licensed attorney who will present your application in case you are not located in the region. Your attorney will handle your legal matters.
How do I find a U.S.-licensed trademark attorney?
You can check the American Bar Association’s Consumer’s Guide to Legal Help to get connected to a legal US attorney. Apart from this, there are several private firms that provide expert services to register trademarks online to make things simpler for you.
When can I use the trademark symbols TM, SM, and ®?
You can only use the symbol (R) if you have registered your trademark. The other two symbols TM and SM are used in the case the owner is trying to refer to goods and services respectively, whether he has registered the mark or not.
There are no other restrictions involved in using the trademark symbol however, you need to make sure that your mark is unique and does not conflict with the meaning, sound, or concept of any other product.