Top 5 Mistakes people make with trademarks


Planning on registering a trademark?

Registering a trademark for your business is a crucial step to establishing a successful brand. A good logo and name can go a long way in boosting sales and creating a loyal customer base for your company.

However, there are a lot of trademark pitfalls that could end up costing you a lot of money if you are not careful.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the common mistakes people make with trademarks and how you can avoid them.

What is a Trademark? 

A trademark is any sign, design, word, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes your products or services from those of other brands. Trademarks are set up to protect a brand from copycats that may want to profit from a company’s success by using their name or logo in products or services.

Mistakes people make with trademarks 

1. Confusing wordmarks with design marks

Unfortunately, most business owners don’t understand the difference between word marks and design marks when filing for a trademark. They’ll often file a copyright for a word mark, thinking it will protect their logo, or file for a design mark thinking it covers their tag line.

However, these two types of trademarks are different and cannot be used interchangeably to protect different elements of your brand.

Word marks are used to protect the words used in your brand while design mark is used to protect the aesthetic look and feel of your brand.

When protecting your brand it is important to ensure you get the right trademark for the right brand element you want to protect.

For example, if you want to protect the name of your brand you need to file for a wordmark. If you are looking to protect your logo then you need to file for a design mark. To protect both the design and word elements then you’ll need to file for both types of trademarks.

2. Choosing the wrong trademark class

When filing for a trademark you are required by the USPTO to indicate the class of the trademark you are filing. A class is a category of the products and services of the products you are selling.

A common mistake people make is failing to choose a class for their trademark or choosing the wrong class. Failing to indicate the class of your products or services can result in your trademark being rejected or not having the right coverage for your brand.

3. Waiting too long

Although trademarks don’t have a specific due date for filling, there are some consequences that can come up if you choose to wait for too long before filing for a trademark.

For example, other companies may start using your brand name to market or label their products. Or someone trademarks your brand name before you do. This can create issues for you in the long run and sometimes even require you to rebrand your business.

4. selecting too common of a word

One of the tenets of a trademark is to help distinguish your products or services from those offered by other brands. If you pick a generic word for your products or brand then it is not going to distinguish you from the rest of the brands.

For example, let’s say you’ve decided to open a fruit joint selling apples. Choosing the name Apple to identify your brand will not distinguish your products from other products offered by other food joints.

However, if you choose to start a consumer brand selling smartphones and you choose to name it Apple then you’ll have a name that identifies your brand and helps you distinguish your products and services since it’s not a generic word in the smartphone world.  

5. Choosing to do it yourself 

While you might save some money, there are a lot of mistakes you can make when you choose to file for a trademark yourself. If you don’t have the budget or your business is just a small side hustle, then you can do it yourself.

However, if you’ve invested a lot in your company and you are looking to grow it to new levels, then it is only wise to get an experienced attorney to help you out while filing for a trademark.

Got a question about Trademarks or IP Law?

Reach out to us at Millar IP Law for trademark questions or any other IP issue and we will be glad to help you out. Otherwise good luck with your business.


If you are a startup, small business, or a solo-inventor looking for a high quality & affordable patent or trademark, you've found the right place. Miller IP Law offers transparent and affordable options specifically designed for your business goals. Grab a strategy meeting to kick things off!

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