Not sure if you need a Trademark? Here are 4 ways a ™ can protect your brand.

Why should you get a trademark? Use trademarks wisely for exclusivity, branding, clearance, and valuation.
Posted on
March 19, 2021
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Why should you get a trademark? Use trademarks wisely for exclusivity, branding, clearance, and valuation.

Getting a federal registration on a trademark is an important step in protecting your brand. And it’s more than just a checkbox in your brand strategy toolbox.

Your Brand captures the Value of your Customer Experience

When you're creating a brand, you put a lot of effort into creating marketing materials—packaging, labeling, instruction manuals, etc.—and use them to advertise your products and services you offer. If it’s effective, your brand helps explain what you offer and, more importantly, the benefits and solutions your customers will experience by doing business with you.

Trademarks Protect the Value of your Brand

When you're in the early stages of creating your business, it can be relatively easy to change your branding. But once you've dedicated time and money to creating the right brand for your customers and then exposing it to your market, you don't want to lose any of the brand equity you’ve created along the way.

Trademarks secure a level of protection for your brand, possibly even before that brand has been fully established, so you can capture the corresponding value within your business. Trademark registrations can be a highly valuable, yet relatively low-cost way to establish intellectual property assets and protect the brand that you're building.

Entrepreneurs frequently ask what is the value of getting a trademark registration? Given the budgeting constraints of many startups, they’re wondering if registration is valuable enough to justify the upfront cost. This is a valid question, because the alternative is using their branding on a product without any upfront costs.

However, there are two significant disadvantages to this approach. First, this approach exposes them to potentially huge liabilities, if they have to modify their brand later on. Second, this approach fails to capture the formal value of the brand when the growth rate of your business can be at its peak.

So instead of abandoning the value of your brand through inaction, consider proactively using trademarks to protect and build your brand value. And trademarks do that in multiple ways.

4 Reasons to Get a Trademark

Use the trademark registration process to get more from your brand in at least four different ways.

EXCLUSIVITY: “Can I stop competitors from using my brand?”

The most common reasons people seek trademark registration is for exclusivity. Trademark registration gives you a formal mechanism to legally stop others from using your mark or another mark that is too similar to yours. Here are several ways exclusivity will enhance your brand value.

Exclusive Industry Protection with Customers

Reserve exclusive use of your name in your industry with specific products and services. Your registration allows you to demand that others stop using the same or similar marks with your customers.

Exclusive Protection against Competing Registrations

Block competitors from acquiring their own trademarks that would conflict with your brand. A future registration request by your competitors can be blocked in the registration process based on your prior registration.

Protection in related Product Fields and Industries

Establish a basis for protecting your future expansion into related products and industries. Trademark law recognizes that, in addition to the specific products and services listed in your registration, it is reasonable to expect you might expand into tangential fields as you grow your business and market share.

Incontestable Status of your Registration

Acquire "incontestable" status with your mark with the US Patent & Trademark Office. This raises the threshold required for anyone to challenge the validity of your registration.

Enforcement on Social Media

Create a basis for enforcement on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Most platforms have an established process for submitting your registration to quickly stop infringers from using your branding. This can be a very efficient process to shut down unauthorized sites and uses of your branding.

Enforcement on Amazon

Create a basis for enforcement on online sales platforms like Amazon. Efficiently stop unauthorized sellers whose products are improperly marked with your brand or a confusingly similar brand.

Website Domain Cyber Squatters

Fight cyber squatters who register website domains to compete against you using your own brand. You might even be able to force cyber squatters to turn over their domains to you.

Monetary Damages

Set up the opportunity to enforce your rights in federal court and receive more money from infringers. Registering your trademark creates “constructive notice” meaning infringers should have known about your trademark rights, even if they truly didn’t know about your specific registration.

Clear Rules for Dispute Resolution

Use well-defined rules for enforcing your trademark rights under federal laws (as opposed to common law rights in different states). Using a clear, standardized set of rules about your rights and how to enforce those rights allows the courts, arbitrators, or mediators to efficiently resolve disputes. This makes pre-litigation negotiations more straightforward, too.

Exclusive Rights Forever

Federal trademark registrations can protect your brand indefinitely. As long as you continue to use your mark with the same types of products and services, and you pay the occasional renewal fees, you can continue to benefit from legal protection of your trademark rights indefinitely.

BRANDING: “How can I focus my brand messaging?”

Brand strategy is central to every business. Brand strategy refers to your efforts to define and consistently stick with a central theme for your branding that speaks to your customers’ desired experience. Trademarks formalize your messaging around specific brand “assets” like your name, logo, slogan, and so on.

Focus your Marketing Messages

The formality of the trademark registration process prompts team initiatives to centralize thinking around your brand and its main themes and messages. Emphasizing a central theme in your messaging helps you avoid time spent on other approaches that don’t align with your central theme. (By the way, this is a fundamental principle of strategy--focus on strategic goals by saying “no” to everything else.)

Communicate Trust

As you create marketing collateral with consistent branding, you communicate consistency with your customers. Over time, brand consistency builds trust with your customers, and trust builds relationships where customers will come back to you over and over because they know the quality of the products and experiences associated with your brand.

Brand Licensing

Trademarks provide a formal way to leverage your brand through licensing. Having a registered trademark creates an incentive to others who want to sell products under your brand or associate with your brand in strategic partnerships. Licenses can create these strategic partnership or royalty payment opportunities.

CLEARANCE: “Will somebody else be able to stop me from using my preferred brand?”

Clearance generally refers to an evaluation to see if your use of a mark might infringe somebody else’s rights. Trademark registration doesn't technically give you any type of clearance against somebody else claiming that you infringe them. However, the trademark registration process can be helpful to navigate some of the same evaluation and give you indications about clearance.

Preliminary Clearance Assessment

Getting your trademark registered includes some of the same steps you might use to evaluate potential infringement of competing marks. You can leverage your registration process to give you insight into competing trademark registrations that might think your brand infringes their rights.

Reduce Product Launch Risk

Lower your risk of making a bad investment during a new product launch. By assessing early whether your brand might infringe another brand, you can brand your products correctly from the beginning and avoid unnecessary costs to rebrand after you’ve produced inventory, packaging, a website, or other other marketing collateral.

VALUATION: “Can trademarks increase the valuation of my business?”

Lower your risk of making a bad investment during a new product launch. By assessing early whether your brand might infringe another brand, you can brand your products correctly from the beginning and avoid unnecessary costs to rebrand after you’ve produced inventory, packaging, a website, or other other marketing collateral.

Increase Goodwill

Goodwill is the category of value that companies assign to trademarks and other “intangible assets” when they acquire another company for more than the value of the capital assets. This means that trademarks translate into “goodwill” value when you go to sell your business to another business. Trademark registrations effectively establish a transferable asset to represent your goodwill valuation until you sell your company.

Increase the Value of Infringement Damages

Some companies are purchased for their ability to create strategic positions in the market. If your trademark portfolio gives another company the ability to sue a competing brand, then your trademark registrations can lead to increased damages and translate into increase valuation of your business, as a whole.

Demand Higher Prices

Exclusivity for a differentiated product or service allows you to demand higher prices. If you can demand higher prices without increasing your costs, then your profit margin and net income go up. Since the value of your business is often based on profitability and net income (or a closely related financial metric), increasing these numbers will directly result in an increased valuation of your business.


Depending on your company, trademark registrations can not only protect your brand, but they can also provide other layers of value to your business. These four general categories will be helpful to any new business or brand that is evaluating how many ways they can benefit from the trademark registration process.

If you need help securing a Trademark for your business, we would love to help. We are an IP-focused law firm partnering with founders, disruptors, and VC-backed growth companies to help them innovate with confidence.

To get started with us, you can Click Here and schedule a free consult to chat about what you’re working on.

Jeff Holman
Jeff Holman draws from a broad background that spans law, engineering, and business. He is driven to deploy strategic business initiatives that create enterprise value and establish operational efficiencies.

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