When you have a great idea that you think is original and innovative, you may naturally worry that someone else will either have the same idea themselves or steal it from you before you have a chance to bring it to full and profitable fruition. One way to protect your idea for a word, phrase, symbol, logo, slogan, or name is to trademark it. Registering a trademark for your idea with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can be a complicated process, and that agency encourages trademark filers to enlist the help of a licensed attorney who specializes in trademark law. Call Thompson Patent Law at (512) 649-1046 and get assistance with your trademark from our trademark attorney who has 20-plus years of experience and knowledge in registering trademarks.
How Do I Trademark an Idea?
Technically, you cannot trademark an idea until you produce the idea in a tangible form, like a slogan, logo, or symbol. In this case “tangible form” can mean a drawing or written words, but to register the trademark, you need to use or intend to use the words, logo, design, etc. in your business for the purposes of distinguishing your business in the marketplace. Before you do any of that, however, it is a good idea to conduct a search to be sure that someone else hasn’t already trademarked the subject matter for which you have the idea. If you find that there are no existing trademarks that are the same as or substantially similar to your idea, then you will need to draw or write your idea so that you can submit it to the USPTO for trademark registration.
The drawing or words need to be the actual item that you would like to trademark, not just a description of it, For example, Nike had to submit a drawing of the signature swoosh symbol that goes on their products, rather than just writing a description of what the swoosh might look like. Tiffany had to submit an actual sample of what we now know as “Tiffany blue” rather than simply describing the shade in words.
Are There Ideas That Cannot Be Trademarked?
To be registrable, a trademark must meet certain criteria. The most important of these is that the trademark is unique and distinguishable as identifying the source of a product or service. If a message is merely informational, such as a sticker saying FRAGILE on a box of glassware, it cannot be trademarked. Generic names that would not serve to distinguish a business from a similar one, such as “Hair Salon,” for example, are not registrable as trademarks, nor are commonly used phrases, such as “Made in the USA” or “New and Improved Formula.”
How Can a Trademark Lawyer Help Me Trademark My Idea?
A skilled and knowledgeable trademark attorney from Thompson Patent Law can help you express your idea in a tangible form that is likely to meet the requirements of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and will then provide assistance and representation at every step of the trademark process. Call us today at (512) 649-1046 to get started on registering your trademark.