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We're big advocates of registering your trademarks -- it's a relatively painless process that can protect your intellectual property from infringement. We say "relatively painless" because, unlike the trademark for Havana Club rum, most trademark applications don't take 21 years to be processed.
One way to avoid having your trademark application sit around for two decades is to stay out of the kind of litigation Havana Club got involved in. Here are a few others:
Know What to Do
There are four things you should absolutely know before beginning the trademark application process:
While trademark registration is generally a good idea, there may be cases where you've already secured trademark protection by using your mark. And any small business owner should know the entirety of the application process before embarking.
Know What Not to Do
It's not enough to know how to help your trademark application -- you should also know how to hurt it, and avoid doing so. Here are six common trademark mistakes:
The USPTO is very particular about what can be trademarked and what cannot. So make sure your mark is original, that's it's not overly broad or vague, that your application is sufficiently specific, and that it covers all the intended uses for your mark.
Know Who to Call
The best way to avoid the common pitfalls of trademark applications is to have an experienced intellectual property lawyer guide you through the process. You can find one in our directory.
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Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.