When opening a medical or dental practice, you may not realize how important it is to properly name and trademark the name of your business. Without properly doing so, you risk receiving a demand letter by another business with a similar name as your own. Therefore, it is wise to protect your investment by having the legal rights to use your name or the preferred name of your practice by creating a trademark and federally registering it.
Are you considering trademarking your name or logo? Let us help you manage the bureaucratic process of federal trademark registration by calling us today.
What are trademarks and how can I protect myself with one?
A trademark protects a name or logo that is found on goods or used as part of a service. The term service mark may also be used, in particular for the use of the name or logo as part of a service.
Trademarks and service marks are typically composed of:
- A word or set of words
- Other language that identifies products or services that are unique and distinct from others.
Things to consider with trademarks:
- A trademark lasts for ten years after it is registered but can additionally be renewed every ten years.
- For a medical or dental practice, an example of what you would likely trademark is the practice name or a specific phrase that you use in your advertising.
- It is critical to understand that simply because you have formed or incorporated a business, that it does not give you trademark rights to use that practice name.
- Traditionally, a state only allows one entity with a specific registered name to exist within the bounds of its borders. However, that does not mean that an entity in a neighboring state might not have the same exact business name as you. In order to protect your investment and have legal rights to the use of your name, you will need to create a trademark and federally register it.
- If you federally register, it extends to the United States and its territories.
- A legal presumption means that it is presumed that you own the rights to your mark, but a party can come in and challenge that by issuing you a demand letter. In essence, registration puts the public on notice that you own the rights to your mark. This also allows you to file suit in federal court.
For more information on trademarks and other intellectual property needs, read our blog on What to Consider When Protecting the Intellectual Property of Your Dental Practice.