Why Trademarks

Have you ever wondered why businesses invest a lot of money in seemingly trivial things like a logo design, tagline, or slogan? They have discovered that creating an image or statement that resonates in people’s minds can be why their brands stand out amongst many other impressive competitors. This unique image or statement can be categorized as a Trademark. When you hear the name Nike, your attention is immediately drawn to its custom ticker logo. 

Brands have also discovered that once these marks, slogans or taglines become popular and gain traction, they can be used by other brands, and this will be a disadvantage for them– this is the reason for formalizing a trademark using a legal process that allows them to protect their intellectual property.  

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a signature, symbol, phrase, logo or any kind of design that separates a brand’s goods or services from those of competitors. A trademark distinguishes goods, while a service mark is used for services. The exciting part of having a trademark or service mark is that they are protected under intellectual property laws

Just like copyright and patents, registering a trademark does not give you the right to use the design or phrase; instead, it gives you the exclusive authority to use that logo or phrase, and it also gives you the capacity to sue in court if your trademark is being used illegally. 

Registering a trademark can be done at the local or state level or with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which has the highest registration level. 

Image Source – USPTO

Examples of Trademarks 

A brand can register its name or the name of one or more products as trademarks; some brands even go as far as registering the nickname of their products as a trademark. Coca-Cola is registered as a trademark, but the company also registered the nickname Coke. Some other examples of trademarks are Logos from big brands like Nike, Addidas, AirBnb, Apple, Windows, etc. 

Nike’s “Just do it” slogan is an example of a trademarked statement. A brand can also obtain a patent for a combination of colours or schemes, e.g., Fikars scissors, which are known for their high quality but stand out with all the handles made in orange.

A brand will love to customize everything it represents. However, some things cannot be trademarked, such as a signature already registered by another brand, a common phrase, a fragrance, or a scripture quoted directly. 

How to get a Trademark

The USPTO has simplified the trademark application process, moving it online from a paper-based method. However, applicants should be patient due to the lengthy approval process, which may take 12 to 18 months and require patience. 

Here are the processes to follow when registering  a trademark: 

  • Check the USPTO resource library to determine the uniqueness of your logo, slogan or design.
  • Select the format type you want to use, such as a character mark, a design, or a musical note/sound.
  • Use the ID Master List to specify the goods and services to which a trademark will apply, along with the relevant trademark class.
  • Select the basis that applies to your filing.
  • Create an account with the USPTO and submit your application, after which you will be requested to pay a fee of $250-$350, depending on your application choice.
  • Wait for approval, then a 30-day publication is made for any possible rebuttal. 
  • On approval, you will be required to complete the paperwork and get a constant registration update.