Registering a trademark provides many of the same advantages as registering a copyright, however, there are some important differences. For example, a trademark does not have to be registered to assert a infringement claim. However, registering a mark helps establish validity, provide notice of your rights to others, provide an additional business asset for sale or financing, increases the strength of the mark, and increases the value of your IP portfolio.
In addition, intent to use applications allow trademark owners a process to acquire time that can be used to ramp up a potential advertising or branding strategy. However, registering a trademark may tip off a prior user of your potentially infringing use. In effect, your efforts to obtain trademark rights may lead to some infringement liability and decrease your success of raising an acquiesence, estoppel or laches defense.
Conducting a prior user search can often help in determining the proper course of action. However, even with prior user search results a likelihood of confusion analysis should be performed and a trademarkability opinion should be obtained. Often this can assist in preventing the expenditure of funds towards an unsuccessful advertising or branding strategy.
These are just some of the considerations that business owners, entrepreneurs, individuals, small and mid size companies should take into consideration in registering a trademark.