Protecting your brand with a trademark is an important step in building and growing your business. But when is the right time to file for a trademark? Here are a few things to consider:
Early filing can prevent issues down the road
It’s a good idea to file for a trademark as early as possible, ideally before you start using your brand in commerce. This can help prevent any potential legal issues down the road, such as infringement claims from other brand owners. It’s also worth noting that the USPTO operates on a first-to-file basis, meaning that the first person or company to file for a particular trademark has priority over others who file later.
Consider the cost
Filing for a trademark can be a costly process, so it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the costs. In general, the earlier you file for a trademark, the less expensive the process will be. Additionally, if you wait too long to file and someone else files for a similar trademark, you may end up in a legal dispute that could be even more expensive than the initial filing fees.
Look at your business goals
Consider your business goals and growth plans. If you plan on expanding your business into new markets or launching new products or services under your brand, it may be wise to file for a trademark early on to ensure that you have exclusive rights to use your brand in those markets or for those products or services.
Conduct a clearance search
Before you file for a trademark, it’s important to conduct a clearance search to make sure that there are no existing trademarks that could prevent you from obtaining registration or create legal issues down the road. This search should include not only the USPTO’s database, but also a broader search of common law trademarks and other sources of potential conflicts.
In general, the earlier you file for a trademark, the better. By filing early, you can help prevent potential legal issues down the road, protect your brand from infringement claims, and ensure that you have exclusive rights to use your brand in the markets and products or services that are important to your business. This can help you prevent more expensive legal costs down the road. However, it’s important to weigh the costs and conduct a thorough clearance search before filing to make sure that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Have questions? Schedule an appointment to learn more about trademarks or how we can help you with your trademarks.