If you’ve tried to buy a house in the last year or so…it’s quite an adventure, right?! And not the fun kind…like riding in a hot air balloon or trying that meat looking thing from the kind looking street vendor in Bangkok.
I’ve seen friends and family have to bid multiple 5 figures over asking to even have a shot. You can have your heart set on the most perfect home, it has the claw foot tub, 2 fireplaces and the most dreamy kitchen with a giant island. Then you’re outbid. Sigh.
It’s gone. Back to the drawing board. In the housing market, there is always another home. You learn not to get too attached because you will find the one that’s a fit for you.
But when it comes to owning the name of your business or brand and registering a trademark?
Not so much.
If somebody gets to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before you do…they get to own the mark. And you don’t. There isn’t a similar house on the next block. In this case, you have no choice but to pick another name. And beyond that, you may have to pay them damages for trademark infringement.
If you’ve had this name in your business for years, that can really hurt. You have brand recognition, your people connect this name with YOU…but in the end, all that matters is WHO LEGALLY OWNS IT.
I have clients come to me ready to *finally* get that registered trademark only to discover that it’s taken. It could have been taken 3 years ago or just 3 months ago, the result is the same.
They have to rethink a lot of things in their online business and get to rebranding. This is always a learning experience but one they come out 100% better on the other side. Because now we can work together on figuring out what is the BEST trademark for their business moving forward, one that we know they can own.
Then more often than not, they are ready to not only get one, but several registered trademarks because they don’t want to go through this again.
Building an online business is an adventure - no doubt about that. But there are certain areas (like legal!) where you have the opportunity to build a strong foundation so that things aren’t a surprise. Nobody wants to get a cease and desist in the mail and nobody wants to spend $5K on a rebrand for a name they love.
Just like the housing market, it literally is a race to the trademark office to get your “offer” in before the next person.