Selling products online has become a no-brainer, everyone and their mothers are doing it so why shouldn’t you? And we agree, setting up shops on verified online marketplaces is a great way to expand your ability to sell product. However, it is important to know that there are specific requirements for setting up a business on certain platforms. Even if the set-up is simple, there are ways for savvy business owners to protect their business and stand apart from the competition.
The first thing to address is what is a trademark and how does it work? A trademark is a federal protection on words or designs that distinguish the goods or services of one party from another. To put it very simply, a trademark is a protection of any brand materials you may be using or be intending to use. So your business name, logo, slogans, additional designs, or even product names can be trademarked, depending if you have a strong enough proof of use.
When applying, you file for specific class codes which differentiate trademarks in different fields. So I could trademark my name in jewelry but someone else could trademark that same name for cutlery. Because the fields are related, the trademarks shouldn’t conflict with each other.
Trademarks are nationally recognized and enforceable. That means you will have the exclusive rights to that design or phrase across the country. If you’re ready to trademark or want more information visit our page on trademarks.
If you’re looking to sell online, there are a multitude of benefits to trademark protection. Let’s start with the most obvious reason. Some online marketplaces require a trademark to become a verified seller. The biggest name to look out for is Amazon. A trademark is required to register for Amazon’s Brand Registry. The brand registry unlocks a bevvy of tools for businesses and the ability to create a store page. There are other sellers with similar requirements that have advanced branding tools for those with Trademarks.
Another large benefit is that with a trademark, you can now use the symbol ® next to anything trademarked. In a sea of other competitors and copycats trying to undercut on price and quality, the ® creates instant credibility with potential customers. With the authority of a trademark, it helps a brand stand out amongst the crowd.
Now, imagine that someone has copied your brand or a logo design. Online marketplaces have so many sellers and sellers’ disputes to deal with, that cracking down on these copycats and infringers is not always a top priority. With a trademark, you now could have recourse to take legal action outside of the platform. On the platform, these marketplaces will provide more support to those with stronger cases and claims, such as sellers’ with a trademark. You have options to stop copycats on AND off the platform should you have a trademark.
Inversely, someone could always claim that you are infringing on their brand. And the platform could remove you for it. But if these claims come up and you can provide proof that the brand is exclusively yours with a trademark, you could save your business from being removed or litigated against.
These are the reasons why the online businesses we work with choose to trademark. Trademarks can be a way to further your brand on a platform, with more and more sites choosing to offer increased accessibility to those with a trademark, such as Amazon Brand Registry. Having a trademark for your brand instantly makes your company stand out amongst competitors who may have similar products or names. And trademarks protect you from copycats who may be infringing on your brand. A trademark is a powerful tool to have. Use it to your advantage before someone else beats you there.
If you have any questions about trademarking you can contact us or call our office immediately at 212-256-1877. If you’re ready to apply or want more information, visit our trademark page.