Three Consequences of Not Having a Registered Trademark for your Skincare Product

 

It is a great time to be in the health and beauty industry.  New products hit the market weekly, and the demand for new and innovative products has never been higher.  This year alone, global sales of skincare products are expected to reach over $130 billion!  If you’ve decided to enter the health and beauty industry with a new skincare product, having a registered trademark is essential to your success in this competitive market.  Failing to do so could be a costly mistake.  Consider these possible consequences of not properly vetting and registering your trademarks.

 

You May Infringe on an Existing Registered Mark

The process to register a trademark begins with a comprehensive trademark search.  The purpose of the search is to determine if your mark, or a mark that may be confusingly similar, has already been registered.

Business owners sometimes think that a quick Google search is enough to alert them of existing trademarks.  It is important to note, however, that most trademark disputes arise not from exact matches, but rather from any mark that may cause a likelihood of confusion with customers.

Google searches will reveal only exact wording matches, but a comprehensive trademark search conducted by a trademark attorney will notify you of all possible conflicts to your trademark, whether it be a business name, logo, or slogan.

Infringing on an existing registered trademark can have costly consequences.  The first course of action taken by many businesses is to send a cease-and-desist letter to the infringing party.  If you are the recipient of such a letter, it could lead to a costly re-branding process.  This means that updates to packaging, signage, websites, and other locations your trademark is displayed.

Not only is it expensive to rebrand your business, you’ll also lose any brand equity you have already built.  If a legal battle ensues, you could incur even more costs.  To avoid the expense that comes with infringing on another trademark, it is best to conduct a proper trademark search prior to settling on a brand name.

 

Your Mark Will be Vulnerable to Infringement

Choosing to forgo registering your trademark will also leave your mark vulnerable to infringement.  While many countries offer some common law rights to a mark once it has been in use, those rights are extremely limited.

In the United States, common law rights only protect a trademark in the small, geographic region where the product or service is being sold and/or offered.  In the UK, common law rights are even more limited, as it is a first-to-file country, meaning that the first business or individual to file for a registered trademark is typically granted trademark rights.  Therefore, if you’ve failed to register your trademark, anyone that chooses to register a similar mark could likely be approved.

Without a registered trademark, it can be hard to control your brand and your skincare product’s reputation.  For instance, having an unregistered trademark will provide you little legal recourse in domain name disputes.

Having a registered trademark will also provide you protection against counterfeiters that wish to profit off of your brand.  In order to maintain control over your trademark, you must register it.

 

Your Product is Less Valuable to Investors or Prospective Buyers

The health and beauty industry has grown exponentially over the last decade.  New products from mascara to moisturizer are being released frequently, but did you know that the majority of beauty brands—over 180 of them—are owned by only seven large corporations?

If you are bringing something new to the table, it isn’t unthinkable to imagine that your product line could also be acquired by a larger company, seeking your innovative product.  However, your skincare product will only be valuable to a larger company if you own your brand… meaning that you have successfully registered your brand name as a federal trademark.

A federally registered trademark is a valuable asset to any company.  Even if you have no plans to sell your skincare business, it is wise to consider a trademark.  As the value of your business increases, so will the value of your trademark.  In addition to its potential monetary value, a registered trademark also builds customer loyalty.

Because trademark owners can control their brand, from online presence to counterfeit protection, customers know they can trust the quality of the product they purchase.  They are also more likely to purchase new products as you grow and expand your skincare line.  Brand loyalty is an important factor in valuing your business, as anyone seeking to buy your business will know they have a built in customer base.  Consider registering your trademark to begin building value and customer loyalty in your business.

You’ve likely decided to start a skincare line because you have something unique to offer the market.  Few things are more critical to a business’s success than protecting what makes it unique.  Rebranding your business because of infringement will cost both time and money, which are valuable assets to a new business owner.

Founder of U.S. based Gerben Law Firm, PLLC, Josh Gerben is a trademark attorney whose trademark registration practice has secured over 4,000 trademarks for clients since 2008.

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