A trademark is something that represents a company, or a product, or a service. We use the term “something” because it really can be varied. It's anything from a design, a logo, a phrase or a word, a symbol or a mark. All this makes a product or company or service truly recognizable. It builds a brand, and it serves as an almost instant identifier. However, the main reason why you might need one is protection.
One of the worst things that we often see with trademark infringement is people latching onto somebody else's hard work, and trying to make a buck. Often, somebody will get a logo that looks similar, or identical, to a logo of a dedicated and successful company. Take any company that’s been at it for decades, that offers excellent, high-quality products. Hundreds of copies pop up every day, trying to steal people’s money, tricking them into thinking they are getting something much better. This can even harm your brand if they don’t figure out what they bought was fake. Then you will have to enter damage control and focus your energy into keeping it all under control.
Or, perhaps you have a very unique and interesting trademark. A slogan or phrase you’ve worked hard on. Perhaps it’s a work of art or fiction that you poured your soul into. And then all of a sudden, somebody steals it, and gets all the credit, fame, prestige, and money. They essentially take a piece of your profits almost out of your very hands.
Before we get into the reasons (besides the obvious ones) as to why trademarks are so useful, know that trademark laws are different, depending on where you're based; the laws won't be the same in India and in Australia. However, some principles don't really change. It's up to you to practice due diligence and actually get on top of all the information you need.
2. It’s simple and cheap
Let's get one thing straight. For something so useful and necessary, the actual procedures are rather quick. Most of the time, all you need is a couple of forms, proof of your slogan/patent/phrase/logo and you’re good to go. The fees aren’t that high either.
Furthermore, while the actual trademark process can take a very long time (anywhere from a month to two years) know that your trademark always has priority. In practical terms this means that if anyone wanted to steal your logo and decided to register it as their own, they need to do it before you do. So even if the actual trademark registration process hasn’t been finalized, you will still be able to protect yourself.
3. It identifies you
Trademarks represent the symbol of your company. A customer will, or should, recognize your company and brand the moment he or she lays eyes on your trademark. It’s a very simple and quick way to recognize and distinguish between brands that sell similar or even the same products. Furthermore, as time goes on and you build your reputation, the logo will be there to stabilize your brand. This trademark (or logo or slogan or phrase or…) is like an anchor that grounds you to your company’s values and ideals. It can serve as a reminder a couple of years down the line of what actually helped you to succeed.
4. Gives you an edge
A trademark can serve as a status symbol, as a something that will help you stand out. In the sea of companies in your field, getting a good trademark will help you truly stand out. Furthermore, many companies simply neglect this issue. A competitor of yours could have spent a great deal of money and time on improving their services. Instead, they are in the midst of an annoying legal battle because somebody stole their trademark. Getting a trademark will really save you a lot of headaches down the line.
Furthermore, it will make you seem much more professional. The more thorough a company is in one aspect, the higher the chance they will be precise and thorough in another aspect. Investors are very well aware of this, and they will notice. Anybody who wants to invest serious money into your company will know every single thing you have ever done.
5. They are easy to keep and implement
Once you actually set up your trademark, most of the work is pretty much done. Any court cases will be pretty much under your control, it's up to you to just provide the evidence of theft and the actual trademark documentation. All you have to do now is catch the people in the act.
One of the easier ways you can check if somebody is stealing your trademark is by doing a trademark search; most countries and governments have some form of IP database or another. Most of the time, any trademark that is identical or similar to the original will count as copyright infringement. This is why a trademark search done by a professional company can make things even simpler.
Keeping a trademark doesn’t have to be a pain. As long as you cover your bases and do all the paperwork you need, you’ll be good to go. Essentially, trademarks are a cheap and simple way you can protect your brand and company.