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According to a story at VentureBeat, filing for a federal trademark can be an expensive endeavor, costing thousands of dollars.

So unless you have the resources, it might be best to try more cost effective ways of protecting your brand.

The good news is you don’t necessarily have to do anything to have a protectable “common law” trademark.

Under common law, all you need to do is be the first one to use it and you can have it as long as you want (assuming you continue to use and protect it). Inserting the “tm” symbol after the word lets you claim ownership – and once the public associates the mark with your particular goods or services, you’ve established a common law trademark.

However, it is important to understand that the common law trademark is not global. It’s limited to the geographic area where your products are sold or services are rendered.

Filing a trademark registration with the appropriate state department, a federal trademark registration with United States Patents and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) or even a foreign trademark registration with World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) will entitle you to additional protection and rights.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on June 29, 2010 in Ideas.

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