The Importance of Professional Assistance in Matters Related to Trademarks
Trademarks have been playing an important role in how we as consumers identify products, services and manufacturers. Market economy is based on the competition among market players and it is becoming increasingly important to protect the fairness of this competition. The main role of trademark law is to create an environment of such fair competition and to protect the consumer from being misled or confused by inappropriate practices.
The Importance of Trademark Protection
Given the fierce competition among market players in any domain of the economy, branding is becoming more and more important and so is the protection of an already established brand name. Consumers have a permanently widening access to products and services. They experiment and explore brands and they become loyal to particular brands and chose to avoid others – either ways, they identify the products and services at their disposal based on the image on the brand and not by reading the small print on the packaging. Therefore, the slogans, logos and other signs that enable the owner of the brand to transmit a message to its possible consumers as well as to distinguish itself from other similar products or services need to be protected by law.
What Is a Trademark?
To be able to explore the complex world of trademark law and the most common issues governed by it, the first term we need to define here is the trademark itself. A trademark is any symbol, sign, word or phrase that is used for distinguishing a seller, a manufacturer and its products from other similar sellers, manufacturer’s or products, in other words, it is a sign, symbol or phrase used for denoting sole ownership over products and services. In certain cases, the trademark may include other aspects related to specific products or services, such as the colors and images used in logos or on packaging.
The trademark is the sign that informs the consumer about the origin of the product or service, the sign that identifies you as the sole owner of the rights over the product or service in question, therefore it must not be confused with other terms such as patents and copyrights. While the trademark is the brand attached to products and services, patents are used for protecting inventions and copyrights are used for protecting literary or artistic works.
Laws to Govern Trademarks
Trademarks are governed by federal and state laws as well. These laws determine the terms and conditions of ownership over the trademark as well as the terms and conditions of transferring the ownership. Trademarks can be not only owned – they can be licensed as well and the terms of such license agreements between the trademark owner and the licensee are also regulated by trademark law.
When You Need a Trademark Lawyer
As opposed to Commonwealth jurisdictions, where trademark attorneys are required to obtain certain qualifications to be allowed to practice, in the U.S., any lawyer licensed to practice is allowed to handle cases governed by trademark law (unlike Patent Lawyers, who are required to pass specific exams to be able to practice).
Trademark attorneys act in all matters related to trademarks, being allowed to assist clients before, during and after the process of trademark application. The responsibilities of trademark lawyers are diverse and include the extended search in federal trademark data bases to find out whether the client’s proposed trademark is original indeed, the compiling of the documentations necessary for registering trademarks, filing registration applications and advising on litigation concerning trademarks such as trademark infringements.
While it is not obligatory to hire a trademark attorney for registering or using a trademark, these legal services are known to save time and money for the clients. These legal professionals have access to resources that can facilitate the registration process and they possess the experience and knowledge to help clients avoid legal problems arising from the way they design and use their trademarks.