Why a Doctor May Need a Trademark Attorney

trademark attorney for doctors

Competition is fierce in the medical industry. That’s why when you build a healthcare brand, registering your Trademark, it is more important than ever before. As a doctor, your name, slogan, or logo is not just for marketing and advertising purposes. It represents your values, the quality of care you provide, and the future success of your medical practice, medical devices, or medical solutions. While you are afforded some trademark protection by using the mark that represents your practice, such common law rights are limited. Registering your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the best way to shield your mark from misuse, and a trademark attorney can best guide you through the process.

What Can Be a Trademark in the Medical Industry?

If you’ve started a medical practice or a healthcare-related business, it’s crucial to be aware that there are a number of goods and services that can be protected with a registered trademark. Specifically, doctors and healthcare professionals should be aware that they can claim trademark rights for the following:

  • Medical practice names
  • The logo representing your practice
  • Slogans associated with your medical practice
  • Medical procedure names
  • Medical device names
  • Slogans associated with medical procedures or devices
  • Nutrition and dietary supplement names
  • Names, logos, and slogans related to healthcare services
  • The logo and design of medical software

A significant challenge in the medical industry is selecting a trademark that is distinctive. Often, doctors select business names that are merely descriptive, such as those that incorporate geographic locations or a surname. Although these types of names can sometimes be registered as trademarks, they are not always granted protection by the USPTO. Whether you’re seeking to trademark the name of your practice, a medical procedure, a device, or anything else associated with your healthcare brand, it is best to choose a mark that is fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive — categories considered distinctive enough to function as trademarks.

Clearing the Use of a Name, Slogan, or Logo for Your Medical Practice

A registered trademark can help you grow your medical practice and safeguard its integrity by giving you the protected right to use the name or slogan associated with it. This is critical to prevent patients or clients from being confused with another medical provider who may inadvertently, or purposely, infringe upon your brand.

An integral component to trademarking a name, slogan, or logo for your medical practice is ensuring the mark is not already being used by another healthcare provider by conducting a trademark clearance search. If it is later discovered that the name of your practice is confusingly similar to another, you could be forced to stop using it. After working for years to build your practice, changing the name of your practice is not only a hassle but it can also be damaging to your reputation and economic growth.

Once you’ve cleared the use of your name, slogan, or logo, you can move forward with your USPTO application. However, it is essential to understand that a trademark clearance search can be complex. Not only do you have to watch out for identical trademarks, but also those that sound or look like your proposed registered mark. If the clearance search results reveal similar marks already in use, a trademark attorney can assist with creating a strategy to overcome any obstacles and move forward.

Filing Your Medical Trademark Application

If the mark you would like to protect is not already in use, and the USPTO will likely accept it based on its criteria, you can move forward with your application. But it is essential to understand that filing a trademark application for a medical practice is not always as simple as completing the paperwork. If the application is not filled out correctly, the process could be delayed, or your registration could be denied.

Importantly, if there are any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions in your application, or the examining attorney discovers a conflicting mark, the USPTO may issue an office action, requiring you to correct the deficiency. A trademark attorney can assist you with the nuances of filing a trademark application so that it is properly prepared, and you can avoid any unnecessary delay.

What Can a Trademark Attorney Do for Your Medical Practice?

Medical practices and other businesses in the medical industry face unique challenges when it comes to claiming trademark rights for their brands. The harm that can be caused by another’s infringement can be irreparable. A trademark attorney can not only guide you through the trademark clearance, application, and registration process, but they can help you develop a solid strategy to shield your brand and maintain control of it.

Additionally, once you register your mark, you have a continued obligation to monitor it for misuse and potential infringement. It’s necessary to assert your rights and defend your mark if you learn another has been using your mark, or one that is similar. You must also renew the trademark at specific intervals to retain your ownership. A trademark attorney can provide these legal services so you can keep your focus on expanding your medical practice.

Contact an Experienced Trademark Attorney

There’s nothing more important to a doctor than their reputation and the brand that reflects it. Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC provides tailored legal services and strategic advice to doctors and healthcare professionals regarding the protection of their brands. Offering a wide variety of trademark services for medical practices and businesses within the medical industry, we are committed to helping ensure your professional success. Contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.