According to the USDA Economic Research Service, nearly 4,300 new beverages are released every year in the nation’s market. With competition this intense, it is crucial for beverage companies to make a positive first impression on consumers and differentiate their products from those marketed by competitors. As with any other consumer product, beverages need creative, unique branding that stands out on the shelves and encourages shoppers to select them over similar products. Creating a distinct brand that communicates the value your beverage offers significantly boosts your brand visibility. The process also protects consumers by giving them the essential information they need to make purchasing decisions.
By registering a trademark for your brand’s beverages, you can secure the intellectual property of your company. Trademarking also helps you avoid the lost sales that may result when consumers become confused and mistakenly purchase the wrong product. When you have a registered trademark, you can control consumer perception of your products, effectively manage the reputation of your company, and generate brand loyalty. Learn more about beverage trademarking below, then contact the Denver trademark lawyers at Four Reasons Legal to discuss how we can help your company build a solid foundation for long-term success.
A trademark covers the name, logo, slogan, symbol, or other identifying features of a brand. The US Patent and Trademark Office is the governmental agency within the Department of Commerce that issues patents, trademarks, and copyrights to individuals and businesses to protect their intellectual property. Trademarks are separated into 45 different classes that provide essential information about the product or service that the mark represents. Understanding which class number to use is key for researching the USPTO trademark database to ensure your trademark is not already in use. Listing this number on your application is required for obtaining approval of your trademark registration.
If you plan to trademark a beverage, you will likely designate it as belonging to Trademark Class 32. This class covers the following beverages:
Some beverages do not fall within Class 32 and must be registered under a different class. Examples include:
You can apply for a trademark on one of two bases—either use-based or intent-to-use. If you are already using the trademark to promote and sell your beverages, you must file a use-based application and submit specimens of your products that feature this trademark. If you have not yet used your trademark in commerce but plan to do so, you must file an intent-to-use application. To secure approval in this case, the USPTO will request proof that you have a business plan in place, have begun the process of product development, or have written documentation that confirms your product is more than simply an idea.
To begin your trademark application, you must first complete the trademark clearance process. This process involves screening the USPTO’s online database of federally registered trademarks to ensure your trademark is not already registered or in use by another company. This helps you minimize the risk that your application will be refused and protects you from potential trademark infringement liability by using a mark that is too similar to another registered mark. You want to avoid similarity between the marks in look, sound, or meaning, similarity between the specific products offered, and any confusion that may result when consumers attempt to purchase them.
Then, a Denver trademark attorney can help you perform a more comprehensive search of the USPTO database, including state trademark registrations, common law trademarks use, domain or business names, and online references. The USPTO will not consider unregistered “common law” trademarks when reviewing your application, but the owners of these marks may challenge your use or registration of a similar trademark.
After determining that your trademark is not already in use, the USPTO will assess your proposed trademark to evaluate its strength and scope of protection against unauthorized use. Trademarks range in strength from fanciful to descriptive:
For successful trademark registration, you must outline your intention to use the trademark in commerce, show that the trademark can serve as a brand identifier, and comply with all other legal requirements. Even after you secure a trademark, you can lose the exclusive right to own and use this trademark in several ways, including improper licensing, reassignment to another party, or genericity, meaning the trademark is no longer distinctive. Trademarks are also subject to abandonment—failure to use the trademark in commerce after a certain time or neglecting to enforce your rights if infringement occurs.
Hiring a Denver trademark attorney is the only way to protect your intellectual property from infringement. At Four Reasons Legal, our team of experienced intellectual property lawyers can work with you to create your distinct trademark, register it with the USPTO, and initiate legal action against anyone who commits trademark infringement against your brand.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect the future of your brand.