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Understanding your trademark: Yes, it's important to register

To protect the interests of your business, you need to understand trademarks and how they are protected. You cannot use another person's trademark, and you don't want someone to use yours without your permission.

Your trademark identifies you, so making sure it's one that you feel appropriately represents you is important. Here's a little more to know about trademarks.

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are logos, symbols, phrases, designs and combinations of these that identify your business as a unique source of goods. You may have also heard of a service mark. This is the same thing, except for that it names you as a source of a service. So, if you are providing services, you will have a service mark instead of a trademark.

Is your trademark your domain name?

A domain name varies from your trademark, although you can use a word or phrase from your trademark as your domain name. Registering your domain name won't give you trademark rights, so keep this in mind if there is a trademark you'd like to obtain and have not yet filed for.

If you use a business name, is it trademarked?

No, using your business name won't necessarily mean it's trademarked, although this may help you prove that you have the right to a particular name. For instance, you will need to register your business name with the state, and that would tentatively give you trademark rights. Without applying specifically for a trademark, someone else could technically come along and challenge your right to use the name if they felt that your business name was confusing their customers.

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