A trademark is any word, symbol, graphic image, or combination thereof that your business uses to distinguish itself and its products from those of other businesses. Registering a trademark can help your business protect its brand and identity by serving as public notice of ownership over that mark. Trademarks can be registered at both the state and national level and often include a complicated application. As trademark registration can be confusing, this article provides some general guidance for trademark registration in North Carolina.
The first question with trademark registration is the value of registration itself. What kind of business are you running? If your trademark is essential to the life and success of your business, then you want to register for maximum legal protection. Trademarks are voluntary, so if your trademark is not essential to the life of your business, especially in the beginning stages, your resources might be better spent elsewhere.
If trademark registration is essential, it is next important to decide if state or federal registration is more valuable. Your trademark receives protection throughout the entire country if you register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While the protection is broad, this comes with a more time-consuming process. It might benefit your business to complete North Carolina trademark registration to protect against state infringement in the interim.
Once you have decided to move forward with trademark registration, North Carolina has a few important requirements. In addition to filling out the required forms on the Secretary of State website, you must prove that your trademark is in use, and advertising alone is not sufficient. In addition to completing a trademark application, it is a good idea to provide the Secretary of State with “actual specimens” or evidence of your trademark in use.
Are you considering applying for a trademark? Give us a call! Our team is committed to providing turnkey solutions to help grow your business. Contact our office to discuss trademark strategy, brand protection, and registration requirements.