Benefits of Trademarking Digital Health Products and Services
A federally-registered trademark has many benefits for your digital health brand. The first, and most important, is that it protects your product or service from infringement. Unlike common law rights, a trademark registered with the USPTO will provide the presumption of nationwide validity, which is extremely important for digital businesses. In addition, you can use your registered trademark as a springboard for international registration. It is also an asset that will increase in value over time and make your business more appealing to investors.
The digital health industry has grown exponentially over the last several years. As people seek healthier lifestyles, they’ve begun to turn to their smartphones for assistance, and many entrepreneurs are anxious to break into the industry. As you complete the development of your digital health product or service, it’s important to determine how to protect your brand. Consider the following benefits of trademarking your digital health product or service.
Protect Against Infringement
Maintaining control of your digital health brand is a critical factor in your future success as a business owner. However, this crucial brand control can be lost when other businesses choose to use similar trademarks to represent competing products. When your brand’s trademark is used by others in the marketplace, whether intentional or not, it can create confusion. Unfortunately, this brand confusion could ultimately sway existing and future customers away from your digital health brand. A federally-registered trademark offers stronger legal rights in the event of potential infringement.
All registered trademarks appearing in the public database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. Because of this, anyone doing even the most basic internet search should be discouraged from choosing a similar mark. In addition, federally registered trademark owners are free to use the ® symbol. Place it wherever your trademark is visible to serve as public notice that your mark has been registered with the USPTO. These are often enough to deter others from using your mark. However, it is your responsibility as a trademark owner to monitor and police the use of your mark by others. If you find evidence of potential infringement, speak with your trademark attorney about taking legal action. Failing to police the use of your mark could limit the control of your digital health brand and the customer recognition you’ve worked hard to create.
The United States is considered a first-to-use country, which means you will have some rights to your mark simply by using it in the marketplace. Unfortunately, these rights are extremely limited, and will only provide protection in the small geographic region where your business is located. This may be enough protection for small brick-and-mortar businesses, but for a digital health brand that essentially lives online, common law trademark protections will not be enough to protect your business outside your area.
Fortunately, a trademark registered with the USPTO has the presumption of validity nationwide. With a federally registered trademark, when your digital health product or service goes live, you’ll have protection against infringement in all fifty states. You’ll be free to grow and expand your business across the country, without the fear of infringement. This is why it is crucial to begin the process to register your trademark with the USPTO as soon as possible.
Springboard for International Registration
The digital health industry is global by design, and if your unique product or service sees success in the U.S., it’s likely you’ll reach customers in other countries as well. With that being said, you should know that a federal trademark protects your product or service within the United States alone. Trademark disputes that occur outside the country will not have the backing out of this country’s trademark law. If you plan to do business outside the U.S., you must consider international trademark registration.
The process to file for a trademark in multiple countries may seem overwhelming, but it may not be as difficult as you’d think, especially if you’ve already begun the process in the U.S. Many business owners choose to file directly with another country’s trademark office, and if this filing comes within six months of filing with the USPTO, the U.S. priority date can be used. Others choose to file using the Madrid Protocol, an international treaty that has simplified the process by allowing business owners to fill out a single application that can then be applied to over 90 member countries. Either way, the decision to approve trademark registration is made on a country-by-country basis. The peace of mind knowing that your brand is protected as you expand to other countries is invaluable, so once you’ve filed your application with the USPTO, you may want to consider international registration shortly thereafter.
A Valuable Asset
Over the course of developing your digital health product, you’ve invested in research, development, programming, and employees. While those are worthwhile investments, essential to your business success, they likely won’t increase in value over time. A federally registered trademark, on the other hand, is a business purchase that will actually increase over time. This means that, for very little upfront cost and minimal renewal fees, you will have an asset on your books that will increase in value as your business continues to grow.
If you are just starting out in the digital health industry, it can be hard to predict what the future of the business will hold. You may plan to maintain ownership for years to come, building not only a product, but a well-known brand, or you could already be deciding how to market your product or service to a larger company. Either way, it may be helpful to know that a registered trademark can be sold along with a business, just like any other asset. In fact, investors and people interested in purchasing a digital health brand will likely require a registered trademark as part of the deal.
Digital Health Trademarks
It is a great time to enter the digital health industry, but before your product or service goes live, be sure that you’ve protected it with a federally registered trademark. This will ensure that you will have the legal protection you need to fight potential infringement, and you’ll have these protections across all fifty states. You’ll also have a strong basis for international registration, which will likely be necessary as your business begins to reach users in other countries. In addition, your registered trademark will become an important asset for your business, growing in value over time. Contact your trademark attorney to begin the process to register your trademark today!