Your company’s trademark is how you establish a brand identity in the consciousness of your consumers — which is why you want to jealously protect it.
That makes it important to avoid these trademark mistakes:
Not researching other trademarks carefully
You don’t want to invest anything in a trademark identity until after you’re certain it doesn’t belong to someone else. It’s important to look through not only legal trademarks but those in use without official protection. It’s far easier to plan around a different trademark than end up in litigation.
Thinking you can protect a trademark simply by putting “TM” next to it
This only protects your rights inside your sphere of geographical influence. It doesn’t confer federal protection — which means you could find your trademark scooped out from under you by someone else’s timely application for a federal trademark.
Restricting your trademark too much or not enough
If you don’t list all of the goods and services associated with your trademark, those left off the list won’t be protected. However, if you try to list items not yet in production, your application for a trademark will be rejected as being overly-broad. That’s why trademarking is often an ongoing process in companies that continually try to expand their product line.
Picking a trademark that merely describes your product
Similarly, you have to watch what you try to trademark. For example, if you own a bakery called “Sweet Treats,” you might trademark the Sweet Treats symbol that you put on your chocolate chunk cookies. You couldn’t trademark the words “chocolate chunk,” though, because that’s just a description of the goods.
Trademark errors can be devastating to a business. If you establish your brand in the local market, having to change your trademark later because of a legal dispute can destroy your hard-earned credibility with consumers. Litigation is also something that may literally drain your company of the money it needs to thrive. Those two factors alone make it important to invest the time and money into trademark research during your business planning stage — instead of waiting until later.
Source: business.com, “The In-N-Out Effect: Trademark Mistakes You Need to Avoid,” John Moyer, accessed Feb. 07, 2018