OWNERSHIP OF YOUR TRADEMARK - 3 RELEVANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE APPLYING YOUR TRADEMARK APPLICATION
You have chosen a name for your Trademark, identified your relevant NICE list and have agreed the price with your TM attorney to handle the application for you. He/she just send you the Power of Attorney for them to be able to represent you before the relevant (intellectual Property Office (IPO). Now here comes the question:
Will you personally own your trademark, or the company will?
In fact, most IPOs today offer the ability to choose whether ownership of the trademark is in the hands of an individual or business entity (company) To choose ownership of the Trademark wisely one should ask (and answer) himself/herself the following questions:
1. Why am I registering the trademark in the first place?
There are several reasons why someone should register their trademark. See 6 Why's of Trademark Registration. If you are just starting out your business and you are trying to register the trademark to prevent someone from stealing from you, what you consider being yours in the first place, in that case steals your decision would probably lean towards registering trademark to your own name (as individual).
If you already have your business established and are looking to secure your Trademark to enjoy all the benefits out of it (see article: Do not sell your Intellectual Property (IP) – license it instead), registering it to your business would be a much wiser choice. Either way it can also be transferred at any given time but have in mind that some IPOs charge a fee for such transfer(s).
2. What am I planning to do with my registered trademark after I have registered it?
Tough one, right? »What do you mean what am I planning to do with it? I plan on using it! « is the most frequently used answer to this question.
The fact of the matter is that choosing the appropriate ownership/proprietorship of a trademark can save you time and money on long run especially if your TM attorney/Tax advisor/accountant know what they are doing and what is your aim to do with your registered Trademark. Registering a trademark can be much more than simple protection against counterfeits which is a dominant view of Entrepreneurs/owners.
3. Am I comfortable with displaying my personal address online?
Once the applied for trademark is approved and published by the IPO, the trademarks are publicly available for everyone to see along with (at least) the owner's contact address. So, for example, if you plan to personally own a trademark, be prepared to have your personal address publicly available for everyone to see. As fraudulent invoices to pay for such publication are on the rise (see more about this in Misleading invoices and how to recognize them) you can expect your home post box to be filled with these kind of letters soon after publication of you trademark.