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Why should you have a trademark?

What is the main purpose of having a trademark? It makes your goods or services recognizable in the marketplace. The more popular your goods or services become, the more you want them to be known and recognized under an exclusive trademark.

Can someone else use the same trademark?

Your trademark name can be used by someone else for different goods or services, but not for the same ones you offer.

For example, Nike is known for sportswear, such as shoes and clothing. That trademark is owned by Nike Inc. Another company named Nike Corporation uses the name for heavy machinery, such as hydraulic jacks. Because the products are different and cannot be confused, there is no risk to either company.

Is registering your company name with the state the same as registering a trademark name?

No. When you register a company name with your state, it only prevents someone else from registering their company with the name in that state if they are in the same type of business. However, someone can register the same type of business in a neighboring state using the name. Federal trademark laws protect the trademark for your goods or services across the United States.

When should I register a trademark?

As soon as you have decided on a name for your goods and/or services, you should submit an "intent-to-use" trademark application. This locks in your potential trademark name so it cannot be used by someone else in the interim before you officially submit your application.

How long is a trademark good for?

Currently, trademarks are good for 10 years. However, they can be renewed as many times as you like, so you could keep one indefinitely as long as you continue to renew it.

What if someone uses my trademark name?

If you believe your trademark name is being infringed upon, an attorney can help you by submitting documents on your behalf demanding that the other company cease and desist use of the trademark immediately. If they do not, a lawsuit may ensue.

Source: Mashable, "Trademarks 101: Your 10 Biggest Questions, Answered," Nellie Akalp, accessed Nov. 23, 2017

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