What is a Trademark?

Your business works hard to establish its brand and you want to ensure customers have an easy way to recognize it.  Once you have developed a brand identity and have a distinguishing mark or symbol your customers will recognize, you want to ensure you protect both the brand identity and the mark that denotes it.

A trademark provides you with the opportunity to register a mark or slogan as your own and to prevent others from using it without your permission. A trademark can be registered on the federal level and may become one of the most important pieces of intellectual property your company owns. An experienced Las Vegas business lawyer at Pintar Albiston, LLP can provide you with assistance in understanding what a trademark is and in registering your company’s mark to ensure it belongs to you alone.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is defined by the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) as “any word, slogan, symbol, design, or combination of these things, that identifies the source of your goods and services and distinguishes them from the goods and services of another party.”  A trademark can also be a color, sound, smell, or anything else that is identified with one specific source of goods or services as compared with another.

A service mark is similar to a trademark, with a slight difference. A trademark is designed to distinguish a brand providing goods, while a service mark distinguishes a brand providing services, like legal or accounting services.

Famous trademarks include things like the Golden Arches for McDonald’s, the Nike Swoosh, the Apple with a bite taken out of it for Apple Computers, and the symbol found on BMW vehicles.   A business name can be trademarked (Google, for example, is one of many trademarked business names).

A trademark is considered a type of intellectual property, similar to copyrights and patents. The difference is, a copyright protects creative works while a patent protects inventions. A trademark protects distinguishing marks. It can have as much value as a patent or a copyright, especially if your brand becomes very well known.

A trademark is distinct from a DBA (doing business as) name and registering a DBA does not guarantee your business name will belong to you alone. Even incorporating does not necessarily mean your business name belongs to and is used by you exclusively.  If you want to ensure no one else can utilize your name, phrase, word, or slogan, you must register a trademark. If you want this protection nationwide, register with the US Patent and Trade Office.

There are criteria for registering a trademark, including ensuring the trademark is distinctive and original enough to become clearly identified with your business.  Pintar Albiston, LLP understands the rules and requirements for trademark registration. A business lawyer can provide assistance determining if registering a trademark is right for your organization an can follow though with helping you to complete necessary steps to protect your intellectual property. Call today to learn more.