What Are Trademarks?
Trademarks are words, slogans, logos, designs, or different combinations of those that help to set apart goods of one party from other competitors. Service marks are similar, they just pertain to the provider of services rather than goods. The primary function of each is to serve as a “source identifier” for the particular good or service that the mark is associated with. You’ll often hear trademarks used interchangeably for both trademarks and service marks.
Companies spend a lot of time and resources on creating the perfect name for themselves and their products or services. Obtaining a federal trademark registration generally means that a company can exclusively claim the word, phrase, or logo used to identify their business, product(s), or service(s).
A trademark provides several benefits for your service or product, some of which include:
Distinguishing your goods and services from competitors.
Providing legal grounds for enforcing your trademark on a federal basis.
Providing public notice of your completed registration.
Securing the option to acquire statutory damages against an infringing party.
Adding strength and validity to your specific mark.
Although a trademark can be a word or phrase, the words or phrases only provide legal protection in the sphere of a business’s specific business or industry and must be used in commerce. For example, a trademark for your beverage company’s name likely couldn’t be used to prevent others from using a similar name in an entirely different field such as landscaping. While there are exceptions for “famous” marks, such as Pepsi® or Coca-Cola®, the breadth of protection typically does not overlap into unrelated industries.
What Do Trademarks Protect?
A trademark is tied to a very specific category of goods or services that are offered for sale. This means that in order to receive a registered trademark for a word, phrase, symbol, or design you must be specific about which goods or services the mark is being used in connection with. An advantage of trademarks is that they aren’t necessarily limited to a single good or service and can be used to cover a range of different goods and/or services.
When you work with a trademark attorney, he or she will help you identify the goods and services your trademark is intended to represent. While it may seem like a simple task, properly identifying and describing the goods and/or services in the trademark application can be pivotal to whether or not the application is granted, as well as the breadth of protection you will be afforded. A trademark provides the legal protection to prevent other companies from using the same, or a confusingly similar, trademark for a related category of goods or services without the trademark owner’s express permission. In other words, securing a trademark registration will assist in preventing the likelihood of confusion in the marketplace.
When applying for trademark protection, the USPTO works to identify whether the goods or services selected accurately cover what you’re selling. If you’re too broad in your approach, the application may be denied. This is where an experienced trademark attorney can help you improve your chances of getting your trademark registered.
Schedule Your Consultation With Ghaneie Law
Helping companies secure and enforce their trademark rights is what we do best at Ghaneie Law. Our team provides a customized roadmap to develop a strong trademark application, performs thorough trademark searches, and will guide you throughout the USPTO’s application process. Contact our offices now to set up a trademark consultation appointment.