Generally, TRADEMARKS are for naming products or services. A trademark is used to identify the source of a good or service. The United States also recognizes certification marks and collective marks ("collective" meaning a group or organization). Trademarks may be made up of words or may be a graphical logo. Colors, jingles, smells, etc. may also qualify as trademarks. An application may also be made if you intend to use a mark. Trademarks are also useful in protecting domain names. Texas also offers state trademark registrations. Typically, trademark registration is used to protect an investment in signage, printing, product labelling, marketing materials, domain name, etc. Trademark registration also makes it difficult for a competitor or importer to copy the product using the trademarked name. Under the Madrid Protocol, application for protection may be extended to other countries who are members of the Madrid Protocol.
Trademarks may be a bit tricky. Let's say you start a website called “magicdoors.com”. How do you file your trademark application?
- Magic Doors?
Further, What trademark classes do you choose? Do you file for a “WORD” mark or a “LOGO” or both? Do you file in Federal or State or both? Do you file an actual use or an intent to use?
Do I have a good Trademark?
Marks may generally fall into several qualitative categories. Some marks are arbitrary and fanciful. Others may be descriptive of the product or service. Still others may be merely suggestive of the product or service. Other marks may be generic, such as "FISH" for selling fish! These qualitative categories may impact the registrability of a mark, for example, it may be difficult to get a registration for "FISH" to sell fish.
This firm recommends consultation prior to filing a trademark application to assess trademarking options. Careful choices and decisions early on can be useful in optimizing a trademarking budget.
How to Use a Trademark
A company's website can ruin its own brand name! For example, misuse of a brand name can render a mark unregisterable or lead to invalidation of a trademark registration for that brand name. Famous examples of trademark misuse include "Aspirin" and "Thermos" --- both at one time trademarks for highly successful products! Examples of commercial items where trademark misuse may occur include:
- Marketing brochures
- Engineering drawings
- Quotes, invoices
- Products name / number in catalogs
- Signage, letterheads
- Print, Radio, and TV advertising
Trademark review package
This firm can review the use of company names and brands or marks, identifying changes that should be made to the practice of using the names and marks. Further, this firm can provide use guidelines and/or company polices for employees' and marketing department's use of names and marks.