Establishing a strong brand is pivotal to business success. Before introducing yourself to the community, it is important to protect your intellectual property from copyright infringement. All your attempts and ideas are worth to be secured. That is the first and most important reason to register your trademark.
What is a Trademark?
According to The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a fee-funded agency, you can register trademarks for products and services. A trademark can be any word, name, symbol, sound, color, smell, graphics or a combination thereof you apply to your company, goods or service to identify and distinguish them from your competitor companies. Therefore the trademark serves as a badge of origin for your business brands, products, and services.
Registering a Trademark
A person can easily have trademark without registering it with the USPTO, but registration does have certain advantages. Yet, the main advantage is that the registration will endow the registrant with all rights of the trademark owner. This means that you can to file a lawsuit related to the mark in the court in case of trademark infringement.
When a person claims the rights to a particular mark, he or she is allowed to use “TM” to signify that the mark is trademarked. The symbol “®” designates federal registration and can therefore only be used after the USPTO registers the mark. This means the symbol cannot be used when an application is still pending. It may only be used with the good that have been initially listed in the federal trademark application.
A trademark ownership period is 10 years, but the owner can renew it. A trademark registration can last forever as long as you have specific documents and regularly pay all fees.
Main Types of Trademarks
Here we distinguish some types of trademark: descriptive, suggestive, fanciful, arbitrary and generic trademarks.
These marks actually describe the product or service. Companies can’t register descriptive marks as trademarks unless these have a secondary meaning.
These are hinting made-up words that suggest a quality of the product. An example is Microsoft that sells software for computers.
These are made-up words that only mean something in relation to a particular product.
These are real words with a meaning that are usually connected with a different class of products. “Apple” is an example of an arbitrary trademark, because the name of a fruit is related to a brand.
These are common terms used to name products or services, for example, a brand of shoes called “shoes”. Generic trademarks describe a product, so no one can register them as trademarks. These are the weakest type of marks, and in fact, they can’t be registered as trademarks in any case.
Functions of a Trademark
A trademark is to identify the source or the origin of products. Trademark performs the following functions.
- It identifies the product and its origin.
- It offers to guarantee its quality.
- It advertises the product. The trademark represents the product.
- It creates an image of the product in the minds of the public.
If you have any doubt concerning whether your choice of trademark protection is right or not you may contact an experienced trademarks attorney near you. For more information regarding trademarks and other forms of intellectual property such as copyrighting, patents, Google Alerts you can visit The Margarian Law Firm’s section on Margarian Law News.