How to Register a Trademark
How to register a trademark. How to trademark a name and make money off it. Definition of trademark and how it works.
Definition of Trademark
As Mostert and Apolzon note, “trademarks are words, design, and other markings that identify and distinguish products or services from one another.” Trademarks help the regular consumer differentiate among different brands and essentially stamp a status or quality label on the product. Trademarks last for as long as the trademark is used.
Examples of trademarks
Trademarks can take many forms. The following are all examples of trademarks: domain names such as eBay.com, character names such as the Smurfs, celebrity names such as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, packaging marks such as the Coca-cola bottle, word marks like Google, logos like the Penguin logo and the Apple logo, even color marks like green and yellow for Subway.
The penguin logo – this has become synonymous with books, given the international recognition of the Penguin publisher.
Apple logo – easily one of the most easily recognized logos in the word, the clean design of this logo emphasizes Apple’s emphasis on elegance and design simplicity.
How to Trademark a Name
How to register a trademark? First, you need to make sure that your name can be trademarked. There is usually no clear dividing line between what is and what is not protectable, but here are some general guidelines:
Trademarks that help the customer distinguish a product from competitors’ products are automatically protectable. Thus, while suggestive marks are automatically protectable, descriptive marks are not. Suggestive marks are trademarks that suggest a characteristic or benefit without describing it. For example, ‘Dove’ for soap has soft and gentle associations, but does not describe the soap directly. In contrast, ‘automobile’ for a car would be seen as descriptive.
Lettermarks are usually protectable. For example, ANA, CNA and CNBC are protectable as they do not describe the product or service in any way. In contrast, VCD or TV would not be protectable.
Arbitrary marks are usually protectable. These are familiar words that are used for goods or services that have nothing to do with the product or service itself. For example, Subway, Apple, Penguin are all arbitrary marks.
How to Register a Trademark
In order to best protect trademarks, you should keep careful records of the use of the mark. In particular, you should note the date of first use. Register trademarks with the US Patent and Trademark Office in order to obtain the best protection.
Search for existing trademarks
How do you search for trademarks that have already been taken? The best method is to use the search engine provided by the US Patent and Trademark Office itself (www.uspto.gov). As for unregistered trademarks, research Dogpile.
Unregistered Trademark Rights
In the United States, unregistered trademarks are automatically protected under the common law rights. However, proving common law rights when a violation of your trademark occurs can be troublesome: you would need to keep careful records of how you have used your trademark, when you first used it, what products and services you have used them on and how many people bought those products and services.