Your trademarks are in many ways the face of your business. They allow your customers to distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors, giving your SME the possibility to better market its goods or services. But trademarks are not just used as identifiers. They are also seen as a guarantee of consistent quality. A customer who is pleased with the quality of your product or service will continue to purchase it based on the quality expectations based upon the known trademark. You should, therefore, take great care in choosing and designing an appropriate trademark, protecting it, using it with care in advertising, and policing its misleading or improper use by others.
While selecting a mark, you should find out whether the envisaged mark or similar ones have already been registered by other enterprises for the category of products or services and markets that you are interested in. This type of information is obtained by conducting a trademark search. Doing it early is crucial so as to avoid unnecessary conflicts with other enterprises and loss of resources.
Once you have searched trademark databases for conflicting marks, you should think about finding the best way of protecting it. On how to register your trademark see: Some Common Features of Trademark Registration Procedures.
On the importance of protecting your trademark in export markets see Using Brands and Designs to Market Goods and Services Abroad and Protecting the Intellectual Property Rights of Your SME Abroad.