Trademark law is a unique facet of the legal system. Though trademarks affect nearly every part of our lives, most people take them for granted. This is because the burden of worrying about protecting intellectual property and invention falls to the business or creator, not the customer.
There are many trademark categories. In fact, a product can fall within one of 45 different classes of trademarks, often making it complicated to know where to begin. Housewares are one of the most common yet misunderstood trademark classes. Many of us have several, if not all, of the products listed below in our homes at this very moment.
Although many products can fit into this category, there are some products that are more often trademarked in the housewares class. Because we are passionate about trademarking and education about trademarking, we have created a resource to cover some of the common housewares trademarks so that you may better understand how they work and be more prepared if you wish to file for one.
The most trademarked housewares include:
It may be difficult to conceive how one would trademark an item as common as a cleaning brush or a plastic container, but there are many ways to do this. Some companies opt to put their trademark on the label of the item or tag the item with an additional sticker, while other companies imprint trademarks on the product itself. This way, the tag cannot fade, be rubbed or taken off, nor be lost. This is common on the bottom of plates, mugs, bowls, etc.
If you trademark your item with the state of Colorado, the trademark stays valid for five years. This means that you do not have to worry about another company illegally copying and selling your product for half a decade. However, after this time, you must either re-apply or accept that duplications/knockoffs are technically legal.
In most cases, business names are not good candidates for trademarks. Though you can certainly trademark the name when it is used as part of a product, the name of the business itself cannot be trademarked. This is because names are often fairly generic, and there are many different types of businesses. For example, if you own a hardware store called “William’s Hardware,” it would not be difficult for another William’s Hardware to crop up elsewhere. However, if you make your own kind of hammers, you could trademark the hammers as “William’s Hardware Hammers.”
The only time that a name can be trademarked is when it becomes a famous household name. For example, McDonald’s is famous around the world for its burgers. You may not be legally allowed to open a small business called McDonald’s if you also plan to be selling burgers and fries. However, if you wanted to open a piano school called McDonald’s, you would be able to because the topics and industries are very different.
When you file for a trademark in the state of Colorado, the trademark is not part of the federal trademark process nor the national database for logos and branding. If you wish to have a more overarching trademark, you can apply via the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This process will look a little bit different, but you will be protected in the entire country rather than just in the state.
Keep in mind that the federal trademark process often takes more time and involves a specific set of requirements. You will be competing with the names and logos of every other company in the country, so if there is another logo already trademarked that is too similar to yours, you will likely be rejected. If your logo is too generic, your request may be rejected on the basis that it is too difficult to trademark something that is very basic.
Hiring an attorney is almost always a good idea when it comes to trademarks. This industry is complicated, and trademark applications get rejected all the time. When you have an attorney on your side, you can benefit from access to in-depth knowledge about the system, as well as reminders of deadlines, necessary paperwork, and required steps. What’s more, your attorney can help you create a brand that will be more likely to be accepted, advise you on how and where to apply, and guide you through each step of the process.
At Four Reasons Legal, we focus on only trademark law. Hundreds of businesses are rejected every day, and a trademark can be the difference between growing a successful business and going bankrupt. Our team provides top-notch legal representation to the businesses of Denver, and we work hard to help our clients attain trademarks for their innovative products. Our trademark services encompass all industries and include availability searches, acquisition, clearance, registration, portfolio management, oppositions, cancellations, enforcement, and trademark disputes.
If you need a trademark or have questions about the trademarking process, please contact our experienced lawyers online today. With our help, you can support the continued success and growth of your business by making your product visible in the market and protecting competitors from copying your design.