One of the most frequent questions we get asked is the difference between brand vs. trademark. While these terms are a bit confusing to average people, they are quite easy to understand. To put it in other words, the brand represents your company or business, or what people think of you every time your company’s name is mentioned.
On the other hand, a trademark protects your products and services from a legal standpoint. However, let’s break down some facts and help you understand what these terms mean.
Why should you know the difference?
Both brand and trademark have their own unique benefits. Basically, the brand is a corporate image, while over time, you can change, improve, or build your brand name, which directly affects your reputation on the market.
On the other hand, the trademark provides legal protection to your brand, which is guaranteed by the Trademark and Patent Office. With the help of the brand, companies can identify your business, as well as products and services, while the trademark protects your image and disables competitors from stealing your ideas.
The brand includes a couple of features such as image, character, personality, identity, culture, essence, and reputation. However, a trademark consists of the following characteristics: brand name, words, signature, packaging, unique labeling, color patterns, and movements.
What is a brand?
A brand name identifies your business or a particular product, and when a brand inspires positive emotions in consumers or clients, then you are doing an excellent job. For that reason, building a brand name is crucial if you want to run a successful business.
That’s why many companies want to protect their name through a trademark, which leads us to our next point.
What is a trademark?
Trademark is a trade name or mark which is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. With a trademark, you can protect a business name, slogan, logo, colors, sounds, products, or services, while its purpose is to offer legal protection.
Once you register your trademark with the USPTO, then you can take any legal actions against companies or businesses that want to use the same name without your permission. However, before you register a trademark, it’s essential to investigate and ensure you aren’t using someone else’s registered name.
If you don’t protect your business with a trademark, then another company can steal your ideas, as well as reputation on the market.
Trademark and brand name – what are their goals?
With a brand name, clients can easily recognize your business, while evoking positive or negative reactions, but that entirely depends on you. For instance, some shoppers prefer one brand over another, due to its value or the services they provide.
However, with trademark, your business is legally protected. Once you complete a registration process, you can seek legal protection against others who try to copy or steal your brand name.
When a brand name isn’t registered, then others can use it without your permission. However, when you protect your name, no one can take ownership of that exact name, product, or service.
How can you register?
You can register the brand name as a trading name at both local and state levels. However, businesses that are structured as partnerships, limited liability companies, and partnerships only register with their state.
As we already mentioned, you can obtain a trademark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In this case, you will have to submit an application, sample of brand name, and a fee. But, keep in mind that this is a tedious and lengthy process, and if you aren’t skilled enough, then you should hire an intellectual property lawyer.