2. Conduct A Search & Apply To Register Your Mark:
Search the name of your business/brand on the Website for the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) in DC. See if anything comes close to yours. If so, you may need to revisit step 1 above. If not, then proceed to complete and submit (with the required fee) an application to register your mark with the USPTO. Theyâ€™ll have specific requirements. Follow them closely. You must remember that you are â€œapplyingâ€ for federal protection of your mark, which means it can be denied. Find out more at USPTO.gov.
3. Use Your Mark Consistently and â€œPoliceâ€ Your Mark:
Do not use different variations of your mark if all of them have not been protected. If you have only submitted one variation to the USPTO, stick with it. Also, periodically do an online search of your own to make sure that others out there are not using a mark that is substantially similar to your own that may create confusion in the consumerâ€™s mind.
4. Always Think About Your Brand Globally
Pay attention to countries where there is interest in your brand, services or products. That is where counterfeits or other problems may arise first. Many times, business owners only think about their brand in terms of their country of origin, while copycats overseas could be undermining your success right behind your back. It even took someone of Jordanâ€™s stature a decade to realize a copycat was infringing on his brand.
5. Know Your Rights both Home & Abroad
Start researching how to protect your brand in other countries before you get into business in those markets. That way youâ€™re fully aware of the laws and potential loopholes in how your brand is represented domestically and internationally.
7. Put it in Writing
McMillan says that small businesses should aggressively protect their business names, logos and brands. If a business owner finds someone using a logo or brand name substantially similar to their own, they (or their lawyer) should immediately send them a formal cease and desist letter. In the letter, it should be stated that you already trademarked the name and that the other party should cease and desist from using the identity or you will be forced to pursue the matter in the courts. If they fail to reply, the business owner should get counsel, preferably a trademark counsel, and consider filing a claim for trademark infringement for dilution of trademark for the other company.