Resources such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights allow artists and businesses to protect their livelihoods. These agreements ensure that other businesses cannot exactly copy their hard work and efforts, whether they be related to design, branding, processes, or products.
Trademarks are very common for businesses of all sizes. A trademark identifies a business through a symbol, logo, word, or phrase that is unique to them. For example, a common trademarked logo is McDonald’s golden arches, which often act as a replacement for the full name of the restaurant.
If you are looking to trademark an aspect of your business, it is important to understand the limitations, benefits, and rules associated with the process. In doing so, you can make more informed decisions about your trademark and your business overall.
There are only two criteria that your trademark application needs to meet to be approved. However, these two rules can be challenging to achieve.
The first requirement is that your trademark will be used in commerce. Most businesses seeking a trademark easily fulfill this obligation through their normal business practices. This requirement is why you cannot trademark a family crest or personal emblem. Neither of these is involved in commerce and, therefore, cannot be trademarked, though there may be other ways to protect them. However, most people seek out a trademark for their business and therefore have no issue with this requirement.
Secondly, your trademark must be distinctive. If you attempt to trademark a logo or title that is fairly common or is presented in a mundane way, it likely will not be approved for a trademark. For example, if you have a store named Clothing Boutique and your logo is in black Times New Roman font, you would probably not be eligible for a trademark. This is because the name and the logo are too common and can easily be confused with other shops.
To determine the distinctiveness of your logo or name, consider whether people are likely to associate it with your company. If the local markets recognize your trademarked item, it should be easy to complete the process. However, if there are other businesses with similar logos or names, you may lack the distinction to achieve a trademark.
To have legal rights over your trademarked item, you must register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the Colorado equivalent. If you do not undergo the registration process, you have no grounds to retaliate if someone steals your item or creates a similar one.
The registration process at both the state and federal levels is complicated. Therefore, you must pay close attention to strict application deadlines, fees, and other details. If you miss a deadline or fail to pay what you owe, you may lose your opportunity for a trademark or have to begin the process again. Therefore, it is best to ensure that you are doing everything correctly and on time. Our trademark lawyers can assist with this process and help to keep you on track for trademark approval.
When you work with a trademark attorney, you have added reassurance that you are executing the process correctly. As mentioned, the trademarking process can be complicated and difficult, so it can be extremely helpful to have someone who can help. In addition, your trademark lawyer is ethically obligated to advocate for your best interests, meaning that we can help you to make crucial decisions about your business and trademark process. You can trust that we will advise you to do what is best for your company.
Our trademark attorneys are extremely experienced, and we can help you with all aspects of the process, including applications, deadlines, and similar roadblocks. This helps assure you that you are doing the process correctly and will increase the likelihood that the trademark office will approve your application.
A: Any words or phrases that are highly generic or indistinct cannot be trademarked because they are likely being used for many businesses, and trademarking would cause confusion. You also cannot trademark a word or phrase that is very similar to one that already has a trademark. If the word is offensive, explicit, or otherwise inappropriate for the public, it will likely be denied by the trademark office as well.
A: To check whether a word or phrase is trademarked, you have to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database. This process can be involved, but it is your obligation to ensure that you are not infringing on other companies’ trademarks. If you fail to do so, you are liable for any legal action that they may take against you when they discover your violation. An attorney can help you to search the appropriate databases before proceeding.
A: Words, phrases, slogans, logos, smells, colors, and sounds can all be trademarked as long as they are distinct. You cannot trademark these things if they are not unique or recognizable to your brand. Longer written works and inventions can also not be trademarked, as they are eligible for copyrights and patents.
A: Yes. You do not need to make up a new word or phrase for your business in order to meet trademark standards. However, the word must be distinct within your business. For example, you could not trademark the name “Breakfast Restaurant” for a breakfast restaurant as it is too generic. However, if you name your restaurant using a word that is unique in your industry, your trademark may be approved.
For over 15 years, our attorneys have been representing clients in their trademark journeys. We know how impactful a successful trademark can be for a company, and we wish to make the journey easier for you. No matter your business, we can help you navigate the trademark process and bring your business to the next level.
For more information, please contact Four Reasons Legal online today.