Managing your Trademarks in 2020
With the start of a new year, it is an excellent time to take a look at your trademarks and, like other valuable business assets, make sure they are in order and working hard to help your business to to grow. Here are a few ideas of what to consider.
Organize Examples of Use
One way to help yourself in the event others challenge your trademark is to provide examples of your use of the mark over time. An excellent task to take up at the beginning of the year is to review your marketing from the prior year and to print (or create PDFs) of prominent uses of the mark. When doing so, it is advisable also to note where the use found and when it was made public. You can create this archive by just creating a paper folder or folders online.
Check for Consistency
A key to good trademark health is a consistency of use. Take a few moments to check whether your use of your mark is consistent. Do you use an ampersand, or do you spell out “and”? Does your logo show the words on one line or two? If you have one, look over your brand guide to see what has been recommended.
Using ® or TM properly
While we can talk about the proper use of these symbols (in a later writing perhaps), at its core, are you using ® for your registered mark? Also, check to make sure someone hasn’t used ® on unregistered or marks pending registration – doing so can cause problems, including invalidating future protections. TM can be used on any unregistered marks that you are claiming.
Look for Unregistered Marks
Speaking of unregistered mark: did you adopt a new mark in the prior year? Will there be a value to you in registering it? Are you sure no one else is using it before you? It might be time to take a closer look.
New Products for 2020?
Looking forward, do you have product launches coming up, and do you need to check if the marks you are using are cleared for use and registration?
For those marks you previously registered, are any of them coming up on their 5, 10, or 20 (or more) anniversary of filing? If so, you may need to file maintenance documents.
If you need assistance with any of these issues, please feel free to contact me at your leisure.