A trademark is a legally protected, non-generic, unique and distinctive name, symbol, letter, word, mark, slogan, phrase, smell, color, sound or hologram that can be owned to identify your business, products or services. It identifies and distinguishes your business or product from competitors or copycats. The value of a successful trademark continues to increase, including licenses and sales, but they need to be properly designed, registered and protected in order to retain their value and prevent their unauthorized use.
Some tips regarding trademarks include:
- Make sure that your trademark is distinctive, non-generic and a strong identifier of your business, products or services to prevent a competitor’s use.
- Be clear what products or services will carry your trademark and choose appropriate and applicable classifications for the products and services that carry them.
- Control your trademark ownership by selecting the individual or company to register the trademark, especially for selling or licensing the trademark or the brand in the future.
- Keep track of your registration process, the Trademark Office objection period, the time to respond to oppositions, and times to renew or update in order to avoid lapse.
- Do not take protection for granted, as you can lose your trademark’s power by non-use or non-protection.
- If you have a great slogan, tagline, catch phrase or company motto, it is important to protect it and enforce your rights against would-be copiers.
- Don’t neglect to use symbols, such as “TM” (an unregistered trademark for classes 1 to 34); “SM” (a service mark for classes 35 to 45); and “®” identifying a registered trademark.
- Consider the need for international protection.
Should you have any questions on obtaining, using or protecting a trademark, please contact one of our experienced corporate/business lawyers.