Trademark is a recognisable phrase, word, emblem, or symbol that identifies a particular product and distinguishes it from all other products of its sort. A trademark recognises the company’s brand ownership and differentiates a product from its own. Trademarks are a type of intellectual property, whether registered or not. Read on to get a deeper understanding of what is a trademark, its types, benefits and how it differs from a copyright.
Trademarks aid in product differentiation within the judicial and commercial systems, and they also play a crucial role with customers. Words and design features that identify a good or service’s creator, owner, or developer are recognised and protected using trademarks. They can stop third parties from using a company’s goods or services without their consent. Additionally, they forbid any marks that could be mistaken for an already-existing mark.
A company cannot use a sign or brand name if it is identical to one already registered, especially if the products or services are connected in appearance, sound, or meaning. For instance, it is illegal for a soft drink company to have a name that sounds like Coke or a symbol that resembles Coca-Cola.
Trademarks in the United States are designated with the ® symbol and registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But, trademarks do not need to be registered to grant a business or person rights of protection. With the TM symbol, one can identify unregistered trademarks. The trademark holder indicates that they are employing common law to safeguard their interests by using this symbol.
Trademark regulations are perpetual. It denotes that the Trademark belongs to its proprietor for the duration of the good or service. Yet, there are several exceptions. First, the user must use the Trademark to enjoy trademark laws. Thus, for the trademark law to be enforceable, a business or individual must consistently manufacture, produce, market, and sell a product with a specific trademark. Every five years, one can do this by submitting a section 8 declaration to the USPTO. Loss of registration may occur if this is not filed.
There are several types of trademarks. The major ones include: descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful. The strongest trademarks are arbitrary and fanciful, which defend invented names and marks or words taken out of context. The next strongest trademarks are suggestive ones, which aim to spark the consumer’s imagination. The last type of Trademark and the least potent describes the products and services.
When you initially start using a trademark or service mark, you need to use the appropriate Trademark sign, either a TM or an SM. Although using the SM symbol, which indicates services, is possible, doing so is not required. Whether the Trademark is used in connection with goods or services, businesses often only use the sign for trademarks, which is denoted by the letter “TM.”
The area of registration is where the most significant difference can be found in relation to symbol use. In order to make use of the “R” ® symbol, your Trademark must be registered with the federal government.
The following is a rundown of when each of the three most common types of trademark symbols should be used:
Follow the list below to learn what can be trademarked.
Go through the list below to find what can’t be trademarked.
Your mark must be unique and unlikely to be confused with an existing trademark to qualify for federal trademark protection. When choosing a trademark, one has to pay attention to what you are selling, how it differs from the competition, and what makes it distinctive. Stay away from generalised descriptions of your goods or services; the more unusual your proposed mark is, the higher your chances of accepting your application.
Follow the below pointers and explore the benefits of trademarks.
1. A trademark is an intangible asset that increases the worth of a firm. It sets the product or service apart from the market’s leading rivals. It might resemble the brand since it stands out from the competition, attracts customers, and is simple to recognise. It serves as a tool for corporate marketing. A trademark aids the consumer in purchasing decisions by symbolising loyalty to the business, reputation, and honesty. Like tangible assets, trademarks can be bought, sold, or used as collateral to get a loan from a financial institution. So, all firms must safeguard this priceless asset.
2. The Trademark will be valid for the following ten years after being registered. No legal responsibilities, fees, or other statutory requirements relating to maintaining trademarks must be fulfilled in the interim between these ten years. Like a passport, a trademark certificate can also be renewed right before it expires, allowing the owner to continue to protect their brand from third parties. If we pay close attention, trademark registration can be kept up and is far less expensive in the long run than domain registration.
3. Due to the fierce competition in today’s industries, branding and advertising are essential for all businesses. Businesses invest in various advertising mediums to market their brand to consumers, including the internet, newsprint, radio, and TV. Anyone can claim a brand if it is not trademarked. Thus, submitting a trademark application for the companies before launching any marketing initiatives is crucial.
4. Trademark registration can be a powerful tool in the fight against unfair competition. Today’s market is flooded with imitators and counterfeiters who take advantage of utilised brand names for their gain. An effective deterrence against such unfair competition is a registered trademark. The trademark owner has recourse under the trademark statute if a third party uses his mark without authorisation or copies it.
5. Customers associate a product’s quality with the brand name, and this association fosters an image of that brand’s quality in the marketplace that aids in drawing in new customers because they can tell a product’s quality by its logo or brand name. A trademark acknowledges the product’s high quality.
6. Customers tend to find your stuff more. It distinguishes your product and product identity from those of your current and anticipated competitors and functions as an effective marketing tool. The logo can convey your organisation’s mission, values, or distinguishing features.
7. Everyone can recognise the proven quality of your goods and services, which fosters consumer confidence and goodwill. It aids in developing devoted, lifelong customers who choose one brand over another.
A quick comparison chart below summarises the characteristic qualities and applications of each of these rights.
|Intellectual Property Type||Expressions of the arts, literature, or the dramatic arts such as songs, music, movies, poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing, etc.||The “mark” of a firm or brand is anything that identifies it as the provider of a certain service or item (such as its name, logo, slogan, etc.).||Innovation must be a produced product, an instrument, chemical composition or a manufacturing process|
|Protection Requirements||A type of artistic expression that has been manifested and now exists as a tangible entity.||A one-of-a-kind brand name, logo, symbol, design, or motto that is specifically associated with its representative source.||An original discovery that has not been made before, one that is both inventive and has the potential to be useful in a variety of fields.|
|Duration of Rights||The laws governing intellectual property are subject to copyright protection for the remainder of the artist’s life plus an additional 70 years.||If the source continues to utilise the Trademark in question in commercial activities, trademark laws continue to be in effect indefinitely.||Patents are types of intellectual property rights that have a finite duration and often expire after 20 years at the most.|
|Rights Provided to Owner||Right to distribute or transmit the works to the public, make a copy of the works, and lend or rent the works.||The right to use something and to restrict other parties from using it in a way that is comparable and leads to doubt about the source of the information.||The privilege of using the patented innovation and preventing others from using, replicating, importing, or selling the patented invention themselves.|
A trademark identifies your products and services and distinguishes you from rival brands; it might be a word, phrase, symbol, or design. A service mark is used for services, whereas a trademark is used for commodities. A trademark grants you the sole right to employ your mark and the ability to stop rivals from using a mark that is identical to or strikingly similar to yours. So, if you want to keep your company uptight, you must get the trademarks right to move up in the business.
Ans: It is critical to safeguard your company name. Additionally, you might wish to trademark your logo and any catchphrases or taglines you plan to use regularly to represent your company.
Ans: No, unless you are applying from outside the United States, you are not legally needed to have legal representation while registering for a trademark. Having said that, it is strongly advised that you choose to keep one. An expert lawyer can represent you in all interactions with the USPTO and assist with legal advice during the application process.
Ans: If you are the owner of a trademark, it is up to you to protect it and put an end to infringement. USPTO does not enforce the trademarks. The best course of action is if you discover a company using your Trademark, contact a trademark lawyer to discuss your rights and the best course of action moving forward.
Ans: A trademark is dead if its federal trademark registration rights have expired. It can happen if the original owner neglected to submit renewal applications or a petition to revoke the mark was submitted. A trademark is not necessarily free to be used just because it is declared dead.
This article is solely for educational purposes. Navi doesn't take any responsibility for the information or claims made in the blog.
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