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Why Bother Registering a Trademark?

Many business advisors insist that businesses protect their intangible assets, such as trademarks, logos and slogans. These assets are protected by trademark law. Obtaining a federal trademark can be expensive and time-consuming.

Q: Should you bother?

A: It depends.

If your business is local and you don’t anticipate much growth, you may want to rely on “common law” trademarks.

Trademark rights in the US are based on use, not registration. Any business that has been using an unregistered mark obtains the right to keep other businesses from using a similar mark that is likely to confuse customers in their geographic area.

If you have used a business or product name for a while and there’s never been an issue, then you may not need to bother with registration. On the other hand, if you sell online, if you have plans to expand across state lines, or if you worry that somebody will imitate your name, you should consider a federal registration.

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