What is a Trademark and Why is it Important?
- A trademark is any stroke, image, letter, number, or combination thereof that heralds your goods and or services
- it can include colors and sounds
A Trademark Can
- Identify the source of your goods and services to the consumers
- provide legal protection for your brand (this is different from a trademark)
- protect you from counterfeiting and fraud
- Creative and unique trademarks are more effective and easier to protect
Often, people think that if they have trademarks, then they legally own those words or phrases and can prevent others from using them. Not entirely.
Nobody owns those words but a trademark owner does have the rights to how those words or phrases are used in relation to their specific goods or services. To wit, if your logo is your mark for your small business, then that image is your trademark, in the context of your goods, services, industry, etc.
Can you legally prohibit others from using similar images or even a similar logo, for different areas of commerce? You cannot, unless the other product or service is the same as yours.
You can register US trademarks directly, from Israel. You save travel expenses and valuable time and your expert attorney can handle any and all affairs that pertain to the process. Advocate David Page is a lawyer in Jerusalem, Israel, who is licensed to practice both, in Israel and the United States.
As of When do You Own Your Trademark?
The moment you begin to use your trademark in connection to your goods or services, you become its owner. By using the mark, you establish your claim and that you have rights to it but you would do well to be advised that your rights are limited and apply only to the geographic area in which you provide your goods or services. For a broader area, your trademark must be registered in accordance with all legal processes and no step can be skipped during filing. While other legalities can be done differently, trademark registration in the US MUST be done with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO). Your lawyer can register your US trademarks directly from Israel.
Trademark Symbols TM, SM and ®
In the United States, three symbols are recognized. You can use TM for goods (trademark) or SM for services (services mark) and the ® (registered) next to either the TM or SM, confirms that the mark is legally registered. This will help your customers know that the product, goods or services are authentically yours and they will buy with confidence.
You can use the ® anywhere around your mark. Wise consumers will see and identify its significance. Bear in mind though, that most mark owners use the symbol as either a superscript or subscript, to the right of the trademark.
Your mark will have to be registered in compliance with all United States laws, rules and regulations and only properly registered trademarks will be considered valid.