Trademarks are the most valuable asset that a business can own. While that may sound like a bold statement, it is absolutely true. In one of my first posts, I explained what trademarks are and how they are used. Now I want to discuss and demonstrate trademark value, and how registration can help to secure that value.
Trademark Value Examples
I think that the easiest way to explain what trademarks mean to a business is to use examples. First, imagine that you had the opportunity to buy McDonald’s. Not a McDonald’s franchise, but the whole company. Let’s pretend that you had the very large amount of money that it would take to buy McDonald’s and were able to negotiate a reasonable price. However, as a condition of the sale, McDonald’s restaurants would no longer be allowed to use the name MCDONALD’S, the name BIG MAC, the golden arches, or any of its other trademarks. Would you still make the deal? Of course not. There’s a huge difference in buying MCDONALD’S versus just a chain of fast-food burger places. That’s because the real value of McDonald’s lies in its various trademarks.
Sticking with this food theme, here’s another example of trademark value involving Coke. When you think of Coke, you might picture the bright red label with the loopy white lettering. Imagine if Coke could no longer label their products. So bottles of Coke wouldn’t have a red cap or labels. Instead you would just see the dark soda inside. The caps and cans would just be gray with nothing written on them. It would be pretty difficult to find a Coke, wouldn’t it? You would have to open the bottle to taste it. Most stores aren’t going to let you do that without also buying it.
Coke would lose a lot of money and maybe go out of business because of all this confusion. Everyone has heard of Coke’s secret formula, and how valuable that is. Well you can make a strong argument that their trademarks are even more valuable.
What Trademarks Mean To Your Business
Obviously, you’re not in a position to buy McDonald’s or Coke. (If you are, please disregard that last sentence and give me a call.) However, they are still the most valuable parts of your business, even if your business isn’t as big and your trademarks aren’t as well known. Customers know you by your brand, and associate the goodwill that you have built up over time with that brand. It is crucial to your business that you are able to use that trademark value to your advantage. You can build up a good reputation around the products and/or services that you provide. That will help you to gain repeat business, and help you grow through word-of-mouth.
You may remember that you gain common law trademark rights by just using your mark in commerce. But because your trademarks are so important, you also need to look into trademark registration. That is because the registration of your mark will help to secure your trademark rights and trademark value. It does this by expanding your rights across the United States. Your registration also serves as proof that you are the true owner of a particular mark. And so it removes uncertainty surrounding your trademark. That becomes particularly important if you ever think about selling your business.
Securing your trademark by registering it with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office should be a goal of every business. If for no other reason, your registration will factor into any potential sale of your business. Even if you are a standalone store or restaurant, any potential buyer will look into the possibility of expanding and franchising. That becomes a lot easier if you have already secured nation-wide rights to use your name and logo. Having your registration also makes it less likely that a buyer might have to deal with issues of trademark infringement after the purchase. That makes your business a lot more attractive, of course.
Think about the McDonald’s example above. Would you want to acquire a business if there is a chance that you might not be able to use its associated trademarks? Because that is a possibility if after acquiring a business it gets sued for infringement. Waiting to register your mark means that someone else’s application might prevent your registration. So it’s important to try and secure your trademark as soon as possible.
Do You Need to Secure Your Valuable Trademark Assets?
If you haven’t thought about the value that your trademarks provide to your business, then you should at least speak with a trademark attorney about the possibility of federal registration. If you would like to discuss this with me, please call me at (314) 479-3668, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today. I look forward to speaking with you.