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The difference between registered and unregistered trademarks

If you are getting ready to put a product out on the open market, there is likely a great deal of work that has been expended in designing it, thinking about how to market it, and how to price it in order to maximize consumer appeal. The last thing you want to do is to leave it open to be exploited and copied. This could significantly diminish the value of your work and even lead to your product failing in the face of imposters.

So how can you protect against this possibility? 

One way is to establish a trademark for your product; especially its name. Protecting a name is part of establishing brand equity in the marketplace, which can be priceless. Consider the logos of ubiquitous brands: the Apple’s apple with the symbolic bite taken out of it; McDonalds’ golden arches; the propeller logo for BMW. Wherever you see these symbols, you can be assured of the product quality and reliability that sets these companies apart.

As you consider how to protect your brand, you may also be curious about the difference between a registered and an unregistered trademark. Besides the different symbols (TM vs ®) A registered trademark gives the public proof of ownership over a mark. It gives the holder the right to sue for infringement and may also form the basis of a trademark infringement suit.

Registration of a trademark can be a complicated process, but it can be well worth the effort. If you have questions about what may be protected with a trademark, an experienced IP attorney can help.

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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