One of the most frustrating experiences for a businessperson is having their hard work stolen. This action represents more than just a major financial loss — it also is a theft of time and potentially years of sweat equity. Thankfully, there are legal protections that you can obtain that make it much harder for someone to steal the intellectual property you have worked so hard to create. One such item is a business trademark.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a type of legal protection with accompanying physical notation that alerts people that a name, brand, label, logo or picture is legally yours and protected as such by the law. According to Franchise Gator, a trademark sets your business apart from other businesses by identifying your brand to the public, helping customers know what your business is and what services you offer.
How Much Does It Cost?
According to Gerben Law, the cost of the actual filing is $275 per class of goods, although it can occasionally be reduced to $225. However, that’s just the cost of filing. The cost of other miscellaneous items related to the filing, such as legal fees, time spent gathering information, etc., can make the cost of a trademark rise substantially. It’s important to keep in mind that the raw costs of obtaining a trademark is not the only cost metric you should be using when deciding whether to trademark something. Obtaining a trademark allows you to obtain clear-cut legal protections. Those protections will often scare away copycats or people who wish to steal your work outright. Failing that, it will give you clear legal recourse if someone violates your trademark.
What Can I Do if Someone Violates My Trademark?
Someone stealing your trademark is a potentially legally actionable issue for which you now have recourse. If this happens to you, hire a lawyer. Penalties for the violator may vary, but a payment toward you is highly possible, particularly if the trademark violation in question earned the violator a profit.
The decision about whether to have an aspect of your business legally trademarked is an important one. There are pros and cons that vary depending on your specific situation, and there is really no set way to definitively say whether getting a trademark is the right decision for you or your business. By learning and understanding what a trademark can do for your business can help to steer you in the right direction.
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