What is a Trademark?
Trademark is any identifiable word, sign, symbol, phrase, or colour that sets your business apart from other businesses. As a business owner, you own the right to use whatever you have chosen to be your trademark. That means no other business can use it apart from you or unless you grant them the right. Legally, a trademark is acknowledged as a form of intellectual property.
If your business provides products to consumers, the term to use is trademark.
However, if you offer services, service mark is the more appropriate term to use.
Business owners can show a trademark whether it is registered or not. Different symbols represent a registered trademark and an unregistered trademark. For example, for an unregistered trademark, it is denoted as AskABusinessExpert™, while a registered trademark is denoted as AskAbusinessExpert®.
Ask A Business Expert Explains Gross Margin
Trademark – Uses
It is highly important for business owners to differentiate their products from other businesses because of the numerous benefits having a trademark offers.
- It makes your business easily recognizable. Anywhere your customers come across your trademark, it is easier for them to identify your business and purchase your products.
- It cements your brand presence in the mind of your customers. Most times, customers will only purchase products from a familiar business. To make your business familiar, you have to make them remember you through your trademark.
- It protects your business from imitation and unfair competition. Because trademarks are protected by the law, either registered or unregistered, a competitor can’t provide the exact same service or products as yours.
- Trademarks are assets. As your business becomes more valuable, so does your trademark, and when you go to sell your business, the value of your trademark can be significant.
Trademark – Example
For example, let’s say that you operate a dry cleaning business in an area where there is a lot of competition.
One of your major challenges will be to show your customers why you offer a superior service.
If you have a unique process with a distinct name that shows how you do your work differently from the other dry cleaners, then you can trademark that process.
Then, over time, your customers will associate your unique process as part of the superior service you offer.
Other trademark examples include ‘Google’ for how it is associated with internet search, and ‘BAND-AID’ for how it has always been associated with sterile gauze wound dressings.
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