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  • Welcome to Wedding Industry Law Online!

    Wedding Industry Law is your online resource for legal news and education on running a wedding business. We hope you find the articles, videos, and information helpful. If you have any comments, news tips, or areas that you would like to see covered, please let us know!

    Wedding Industry Law is edited by Wedding Lawyer and Trial Attorney Rob Schenk. Contributing blogger Ayisha Lawrence also kicks out some of the jams, too.

    UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE UNABLE TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR LEGAL ADVICE (sad face).

What Can I Do with a Trademark?

With a registered mark, you can tell copycats to STOP

With a registered mark, you can tell copycats to STOP

If you really want to protect your right to use your business name and associated intellectual property or goodwill, it is absolutely critical that you register your marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

There are lots of things that you can do with your shiny, new, registered mark.

First, you get exclusive, nationwide ownership & right to expand using your mark. Second, the USPTO will, henceforth, kick out future applications that infringe on your mark, meaning that no new similar or confusing marks will be granted. Third, if someone does infringe on your mark, you can bring a lawsuit in big bad Federal court to enforce it. Fourth, while in Federal court, you can recover profits, statutory damages, attorneys fees, or treble damages based on willful infringement.

Do you HAVE to REGISTER your mark to have these rights? Yes and no. If you’ve been using your mark for 10 years without registering it with the USPTO, you may or may not have some of these rights. But any rights or protections you do have will most certainly be limited, and not nearly what you can get with an actual registration with the USPTO. So, bottom line, register your trademark.

 

 

When Should I Trademark My Wedding Business Name or Logo?

OK, Trademarks, great! Why should I even bother with this?

As a wedding or event business, there is no end to all the things that compete for your time and money. I get it. So where do trademarks fit in with this?

Consider this in your cost benefit analysis:

Trademark or get off the pot. It

Trademark or get off the pot. It’s the law.

If, down the road, you want to franchise your business, or sell your business to someone else, then whether you have trademarked your business name and/or logo will be very important. No franchisee or potential purchaser is going to want to purchase a business with the risk that someday, they will be the defendant in a trademark infringement case. Verifying that you own the right to use that name or logo puts that fear to bed, and actually can increase your business’ value. Have you ever watched Shark Tank? That’s like always one of their first questions after “Do you have a patent,” is “Do you have a trademark?”

The earlier in your business life that you register your mark, the stronger your mark is going to be by the time that you actually do end up franchising or selling. So, it might be worth the investment sooner rather than later if that is your ultimate goal.

Aside from selling or franchising, registering your trademark might be a good idea just to solidify your spot in the market and prevent YOU from having to stop using YOUR name because it infringes on SOMEONE ELSE. In other words, you are buying PIECE OF MIND. You might never ever have to sue someone for infringement, but it feels good to know that you won’t have to worry about infringing on someone else.

How Do I Register my Trademark?

Once you have decided on a mark, hopefully either arbitrary, fanciful, or suggestive, how do you actually register your trademark?

Registering a trademark is normally going to consist of two steps: Conducting a search of Federal and State databases to make sure what you want to trademark is not already taken, and then applying online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The application process can be fairly daunting if you are unfamiliar, so you may want to consider retaining an attorney, although it is not necessary.