Trademark regulations are quite specific about what can and cannot be trademarked, and the wise business owner will seek out this information. Trademarking certain aspects of your marketing or branding campaigns is a smart move, keeping competitors from copying the unique things that identify your product or service in the marketplace and using them to promote their own businesses. You want your customers to find and identify your products and services easily and you want them to associate the elements of your marketing and branding plans with your business and only your business.
Registering your trademarks for these elements is a great way to protect them from being used by others. Call Thompson Patent Law at (512) 649-1046 and get access to our trademark attorney’s 20-plus years of experience and knowledge in registering trademarks.
What Kinds of Things Can Be Trademarked?
Almost anything that identifies your business as distinct from other, similar businesses can be trademarked. We often see the TM or ® marks to designate a trademark on a logo, phrase, slogan, or image, but other things that are associated with your product or service can be trademarked as well. Sounds, for example, can be trademarked. The three-tone identifier of NBC television is trademarked, for example. So is the distinctive sound at the beginning of every episode of the TV show Law and Order.
Smells can be trademarked, though it is extremely rare. One smell that has successfully been trademarked is a “flowery musk scent” that is pumped into larger Verizon retail stores. Colors can be trademarked, as has been done with John Deere green, Fiskars orange, and UPS Brown. The litmus test for whether these things can be trademarked is that they must have a strong “secondary meaning,” meaning that the minute you see, hear, or smell the item in question, your brain takes a shortcut to the brand it represents.
What Cannot Be Trademarked?
There are things that cannot be trademarked, as well. These include proper names or likenesses without consent of the person; terms that are too generic and not associated with a particular service or product; government insignia; the likeness of any President of the United States, vulgar or disparaging words or phrases, and immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words or symbols. Trademarks cannot be issued for any items that are too similar to already-trademarked items, even if they meet the other qualifications. This protects against confusion among brands and companies and protects the uniqueness of a brand and its elements, which is the point of a trademark.
Why Should I Choose Thompson Patent Law to Help With my Trademarks?
Here at Thompson Patent Law, we have over 20 years of experience helping clients protect their unique brands through the trademarking process. We support our clients every step of the way from determining what to trademark, to filling out the application and representing you throughout the process. Call us today at (512) 649-1046 to get started on registering your trademark.