When Should I File My Trademark Application – before or after I start selling?
Small business owners don’t usually think about trademark protection until after they’ve been in business for months or even years. While it’s true that you can apply for federal trademark protection at any time, we always tell our clients that sooner is always better.
Before marketing your brand
We find that the best strategy is to think about your trademark registration right from the beginning — ideally before you commit to a brand name and spend money marketing your brand. By filing your trademark application before you start selling, you avoid putting yourself at significant risk of having to change your branding down the road in the event that you’re using a name or mark that is confusingly similar to an existing trademark. This is done by filing a Section 1(b) or “intent to use” application.
The main advantage of filing under an intent-to-use basis is that it essentially reserves the name or mark for you and prevents another business from registering a similar trademark while you are busy getting yours off the ground.
But it’s not too late
But what if you’re already in business and thinking about trademarks for the first time, is it too late? The answer is NO. You can still do a trademark search and apply for the expanded protections of federal trademark registration by filing a Section 1(a) or “actual use” application with the USPTO.
Here’s the bottom line. As a business owner, you ought to do all that you can to protect your business and its assets, including intangible ones like your brand name or mark. A strong trademark will not only add value to your business, but it will also secure your brand. It’s an investment that’s definitely worth every penny.
If you need help registering your trademark, get in touch with us today. Our team can help ensure your trademark application runs smoothly!