INVEST IN YOUR BRAND
Trademarks are the cornerstone of your branding efforts and are crucial to protect. The last thing you want to have to do is change your name after you've already invested time and money in one. Yet, this happens all the time because entrepreneurs and small business owners are so busy trying to grow their businesses that they forget about some of the foundations. You don't need the headache of all those lost resources- you need to protect your brand now!
We offer trademark clearance and registration by an experienced Trademark attorney for a transparent flat fee of $549, plus the US Patent & Trademark Office filing fee of $225 for registration in one class. If there are any concerns about registering your mark, the attorney will discuss that with you before submitting the application to the Trademark Office. For more information on trademarks and how to select one, read on below. When you are ready to proceed, just click Get Started Now. You will be asked to fill out a form with all the information we need to complete the services. Got questions? We'd love to hear from you!
what is a trademark?
Trademarks were created for the purpose of protecting consumers. Do you have any favorite brands or products? Have you ever been shopping for an item and looked for products made by certain brands because you'd heard they were of good quality? Have you ever avoided a certain brand because you believed it was not of good quality? What if anyone was able to slap a famous name on their product and sell it as if it were made by someone else? Intuitively we understand that to be wrong. But the reason it is wrong, legally, is because of Trademark law.
Trademarks are generally the company name (e.g. Google), product name (e.g. iPhone), logo (e.g. the Nike swoosh), or tagline/slogan (e.g. M&M's "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands; or BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine"). They can also be trade dress (e.g. the iconic Coca-Cola bottle), or a specific color (e.g. the red soles of Christian Louboutin shoes), or a sound (e.g. the Intel Inside "bong" or MGM Lion's roar).
Trademarks serve as an indication of the source of a good or service. From a branding perspective, trademarks are part of the larger strategy you use to differentiate your brand and tell a story about it. You want your product to stand out from the pack, and securing a good trademark is one of the first steps in doing that.
how do I choose a trademark?
When you try to register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office they look at a number of factors including whether there are any marks that might be confused with your mark, whether you are actually using it "in commerce" (rather than as a personal or internal use), and the "distinctiveness of the mark." In order to understand what is distinctive, it helps to understand what is not. Some terms are "generic" for a product or service. If a furniture company has a new line of chairs, they cannot trademark the name "Chair" to apply to their products because it would prevent other chair manufacturers from using the word "chair" to describe their chairs. Obviously that sounds ridiculous.
This can get complicated with new technologies or innovative services. What if you were the first smartphone manufacturer and had trademarked the name "smartphone" but then everyone started using the word to describe all phones with certain characteristics? Nowadays we think of "smartphone" as a word that describes an entire class of products, not the product of just one brand. But these are issues that the Trademark office will look for. If your desired trademark describes the goods or services, your trademark may be denied for being "merely descriptive." For example, if you try to trademark "Search Engine Augmentation" for your SEO consulting services, you will likely be denied on descriptive grounds because it describes what you do too literally.
Your trademark can be "suggestive" of your product or service. Determining whether a mark is Suggestive or Descriptive is not for amateurs. Many linguistic gymnastics go into these determinations. Try to stay firmly away from being merely descriptive- add something fanciful or arbitrary to the name to avoid a merely descriptive determination.
The strongest marks are referred to as "arbitrary" or "fanciful" marks. An arbitrary mark is "Apple" for computers. "Apple" would be considered generic if the goods it applied to were fruit of course, so the determination is highly contextual. A "fanciful" mark is something like "Google" which is a made up word. It was based on "googol" which refers to a very large number. However, it is misspelled (purposely) and so the word "Google" was not a word in the English language prior to it becoming a trademark. Made up words are some of the best Trademarks because no one else needs the words in order to reasonably describe and sell their products (as they would need "chair" in the example above). This is why you'll see a lot of companies misspelling words- it's not just to be cool, it strengthens their trademark because no one else needs to use a misspelled word to talk about their brand.
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More TIPS & INFORMATION on Trademarks:
- Sep 15, 2017 How do I chose a strong trademark for my company or product name?
- Sep 15, 2017 What are "generic" and "merely descriptive" trademarks?
- Sep 15, 2017 Why you should never use your brand name as a noun or verb
- Sep 15, 2017 What does a trademark protect?
- Sep 15, 2017 What is a Trademark?
*USPTO filing fees are $225 per class. Most marks will register in one class.
** No representations, testimonials, or endorsements on this web site constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of any legal matter.