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How to Care for your Trademark: Monitoring

Congratulations- you've taken the most important step in protecting your brand and registered your trademark! The work doesn't stop there though. Under federal trademark law, Trademark owners have a number of duties in order to maintain ownership of their mark. One of those duties is to enforce your own mark. If you allow others in the marketplace to use it without objection or without a licensing arrangement, you could end up forfeiting your rights. If you knowingly allow someone to use a confusingly similar mark you could forfeit the legal ability to enforce your mark against that user if you wait too long.  Additionally, the USPTO may even approve marks for registration that you believe conflict with yours. Often people start businesses before clearing and registering their mark- and some of those  may be using trademarks that could infringe yours. You can't count on the USPTO to keep marks that are confusingly similar to yours from being registered. That's why Trademark monitoring is crucial to protecting your brand. VGL trademark monitoring is monitoring that involves a trademark attorney that analyzes marks being used and registered and only notifies you if something is a potential threat to your brand. Other monitoring services just send you an automated report and let you try to figure it out. Then, if you want to take action on anything, you'd need to contact a trademark attorney anyway. Our service takes the guesswork out of it and gives you attorney guidance through the process. Get started with your trademark monitoring package today. 

Trademark Monitoring - Annual

-Regular monitoring of USPTO Trademark filings

-Weekly notification if potentially conflicting marks are discovered

*Attorney consultation and enforcement extra

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Top Tips for Choosing Your Trademark

1. Choose a trademark that will stand out! Don't use commonly descriptive words for your goods or services, get creative and choose something that no one else will be using. You can't use a trademark to backdoor a monopoly on the English language. The best marks use words that no one else in that industry needs to use. Choose a trademark that is distinct from others in your industry and doesn't describe your goods or services. If the name is considered descriptive, the USPTO may refuse to register it. 

2. See if the domain you want is available first. Before you get too attached to your mark, make sure the URL is available. If someone else is using it, that could be a red flag that you won't be able to get the trademark. 

3. Have a trademark clearance done. Shocking as it may be, some businesses own trademarks and yet have little to no online presence, even today! Get your trademark cleared before you sink money into the business cards and other branding.

4. Register it before someone else does! I have had clients lose the trademark they already had begun building their business on because they waited to register the mark. Sometimes by as little as a month. It's so painful when this happens and rebranding can be very costly. Trademarks are low-hanging fruit when it comes to legal considerations for a young company. They're easy to do, relatively inexpensive, and can save you a lot of money down the road. Listen to you Mom, don't be penny wise, pound foolish! VGL offers a transparent, flat fee trademark with advising by an experienced trademark attorney. Get started on your registration today!

5. Get schooled in good Trademark hygiene and upkeep. Once you are the proud owner of a trademark, there are things you need to do to protect your brand. Read our post on Monitoring your trademark and Why you should never use your brand name as a noun or verb. And ask us about our trademark monitoring service!


Basic Trademark Registration

Perfect for when you’re already using your trademark publicly


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How do I chose a strong trademark for my company or product name?

How do I chose a strong trademark for my company or product name?

When the USPTO evaluates your mark to decide whether they will allow it to be registered, they look at how distinctive it is. They will not allow marks that are considered “Generic” or “Merely Descriptive” to be registered. See our previous post on Generic and Merely Descriptive marks.

The best marks are “arbitrary” or “fanciful” marks.

What are "generic" and "merely descriptive" trademarks?

What are "generic" and "merely descriptive" trademarks?

A generic mark is one that is synonymous with the common term for that which you are selling. So, “chair” would be generic for “chairs.” That’s easy enough, but sometimes a company’s success can be its trademark downfall. For example, “Xerox” became so synonymous with “photocopy machine” or “the act of photocopying” that they nearly lost their mark. They have fought hard to keep it, including taking out ads that instruct people on how to use their trademark. If you create something new and innovative, you have to be all the more careful not to allow your trademark to become generic for your products. One could imagine a couple decades ago, someone getting the trademark for “smartphone” because there was no class of goods known as “smartphones” at the time. But by now, that term would be generic for a class of goods made by many different brands.

Why you should never use your brand name as a noun or verb

Why you should never use your brand name as a noun or verb

If you forget your elementary school grammar, a noun is  “a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things common noun, or to name a particular one of these proper noun.”  Whereas, an adjective is “a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.”  A trademark is meant to be an indicia of source, meaning, you know the source of what you buy because of the trademark on the package, and so you can have a reasonable expectation as to the quality of your purchase based on past experience with that brand. Trademarks describe a thing, and that's why they are adjectives.

What does a trademark protect?

What does a trademark protect?

A Trademark gives you the right to prevent others from using your registered mark as an indicia of source on their goods or services. So, only Nike can use the word “Nike” to sell shoes and athletic apparel. Only Delta Airlines can use the word “Delta” with regards to airlines or air travel. However, Delta Faucets has peacefully coexisted with Delta Airlines for decades because no consumer really thinks they’re buying air travel from a faucet and sink maker, thus there is no reasonable “likelihood of confusion” that could lead to the consumer being harmed by that purchase.

Women 2.0 GSD


In honor of the Women 2.0 Conference we have a set of programing and specials to help you GSD (Get Stuff Done).

Click here, to take advantage of a special Women2.0 discount on services and workshops such as: How to file your own Trademark, Startup Issues 101, and many other workshops.

If you are at Women2.0's Conference swig by and say hello!