Trademarks are the commissioners of commerce and benefit both businesses and consumers. A trademark can be almost anything— a word, phrase, symbol, sound, color, design, or any combination of these— that distinguishes the goods or services of one party from those of others. On the one hand, a trademark communicates to consumers that the associated goods or services come from a unique source that is distinguishable from other sources for those goods or services. Trademarks also assure consumers of consistent quality so that they can repeat their positive buying experiences…and avoid bad buying experiences.

For businesses, trademarks help build and maintain awareness and demand for their products and services. They allow businesses to build an identity and reputation with customers, which, in turn, allows businesses to grow and expand. A trademark also legally protects the owner by providing the exclusive legal right to use the mark to identify their goods and services.

If you are a business owner or if you are planning to start a business, it is important to take steps early in the development stages of a company, product, or service to ensure protection of your valuable trademarks and brands.