Author: Avery Lee, Associate and Trademark Agent at KMB Law
If you offer products, services or even just content on your website or social media pages, you most likely also want a return on your investment of time and often hundreds or thousands of dollars spent on building your brand and reputation around your trademarks (e.g., names, slogans or logos).
The Value of Trademarks
Trademarks act as a shortcut for your customers, viewers and/or users to distinguish you from the rest of the market. As you use your trademarks, they gain recognition and people start developing a loyalty to your brand.
Expanding, Licensing and Franchising
When you start your business or website, you are likely starting out small, whether that be a particular city or country, or a niche product or service. What trademarks allow you to do is to expand your presence in the market more easily.
For example, you may have started your restaurant in one city but after experiencing some success you may want to open up new restaurants in different cities and even countries. Of course, you may not be able to or want to run all those separate restaurants yourself. So instead, you can license or franchise the rights to use your trademarks to someone else in exchange for a royalty (e.g., a percentage of net sales).
Entering into a co-branding partnership with another company is also a great way to expand your market and increase the value of your trademarks.
Selling to Potential Buyers and Investors
Whether you are looking to exit a particular market or looking to pivot, you can sell the exclusive rights to use your trademarks as a whole or limited to particular market sectors. Trademarks can also be used as collateral to receive funding from investors or financing from banks.
Potential buyers may be one of your business partners, a competitor, or someone who is looking to enter into your market and want to sell products or services under your trademarks. Since potential buyers may be hardest part of selling a trademark, there are also websites you can use like the U.S. Trademark Exchange or even EBay to list your trademark for sale, license or auction.
But before you can sell or license your trademarks, you need to make sure you actually own the exclusive rights to them by filing trademark applications in each country you intend on using them.
Please contact us by email at [email protected] to learn more or to begin the process of making money with your trademarks.
This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.