Why is trademark registration crucial in developing your mobile app?
Shahrina Ankhi-Krol, Esq.
Attorney at Law – NY, NJ, EDNY, SDNY
No matter what your trade, be it in the ever-exciting mobile app industry, restaurant, fashion, or anything else in between, chances are, since the earliest stages of your business, your biggest asset has been your business and/or product name. Think about it. Maybe you also have a logo and a slogan, which took countless hours to develop and finally satisfy the visions and expectations you have of your brand. However, in the hustle and bustle of starting up your business, you have neglected to apply for trademark registration. You thought, “eh, who will copy my brand?” Or, maybe you thought, “I will get to it soon.” Unfortunately, sometime “soon” isn’t soon enough. By the time you finally get around to applying for trademark registration, someone else may have already registered it…for him/herself. This puts you back to square one as your “good name” has been scarred and that your consumers are likely to be confused as to the origin of the products created by you and your copier. As a result, you may have to rebrand or partake in a legal battle that is quite costly. Don’t let it happen. Be proactive and protect your brand by registering your trademark(s) before it’s too late.
Below are the answers to some FAQs I always receive regarding trademarks.
What is a trademark?
A trademark mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
What can be trademarked?
Any “mark” that is used to distinguish your goods from the goods of another can be trademarked marked. That means, business names, logos, and slogans, can all be trademarked.
How long does the process take?
There are many factors which can affect the length of the trademark registration process. Generally, the entire process can take up to 18 months. The sooner you apply, the better it is for you as it operates on a “first-come-first-served” basis. Who should apply for a trademark?
Anyone interested in distinguishing his/her goods from those of another. The underlying idea behind a trademark is to allow consumers to identify the origin of a good. For example, Starbucks® coffee v. Dunkin Donuts® coffee; Nike® shoes v. Fila® shoes. So, if you want to distinguish your goods from those of your competitors, you should consider applying for a trademark registration.
What’s the difference between “TM” and ®?
TM = Trademark symbol for an unregistered mark. You can use this symbol until the USPTO issues a registration number for your mark.
® = Trademark symbol for a registered mark. You can start using this symbol after the USPTO approves your mark and issues a registration number.
Should I hire a lawyer for my trademark needs?
Yes. Although the legal system in the United States was created in a manner that allows individuals to represent themselves, hiring (live) lawyers is always a good decision. The trademark registration process has many intricacies which are not readily known to the public. A lot of time and money can be saved by hiring a lawyer from the beginning of the process than to wait until you must fix your “DIY” legal work.
Ankhi-Krol Law is a boutique law firm in Midtown, New York City that works with clients from all over the country with their Federal trademark and copyright needs.