|INACO San Diego||San Diego Web Design||TV and Radio Web Sites||IT Consulting San Diego||Portfolio||Contact|
By Alena Herranen, Attorney
Trademarks and service marks are a valuable part of your business. Even the smallest businesses should not ignore the importance of trademarks. Trademarks are brand identifiers. They are brand names. Trademarks assist consumers in distinguishing between similar products and services. They help create brand loyalty by allowing consumers to associate your quality product or service with a mark, word or symbol.
What Is A Trademark?
A trademark is a word, logo, slogan, symbol, package design, or other indicator of the source of a product or service. It must be able to distinguish your product or service from others. The best marks are fanciful words with no meaning like Xerox for copiers or arbitrary marks like Apple for computers. Suggestive marks like Heat King for an oven can also be strong marks. Some examples of very powerful trademarks are Coca-Cola, Levis, BMW, Rolex and Purina.
What Isnt A Trademark (Usually)?
Trademarks should not be generic, such as Diner for the name of a restaurant. They should not be descriptive like Spicy and flavorful food. They should not be deceptive like Fine Wine for a non-alcoholic fruit drink. They should not be a surname like Smiths Diner. They should not be a geographic term like Southern California Restaurant. And they should not be too similar to existing trademarks such as MacDonalls Hamburgers.
Exceptions to these general rules exist for marks that acquire distinctiveness. Marks consisting of surnames or geographic terms can acquire distinctiveness by virtue of long-term usage or high publicity. McDonalds restaurant, Ms. Smiths pies, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are examples of surnames or geographic terms that have become distinctive.
Another important distinction to make is that trademarks are not the same as copyrights or patents. A copyright protects the expression of an idea, such as books, music and paintings. Patents protect an idea, process, machine, design, and composition of a product. Trademarks do not protect the expression of an idea nor the idea itself, but rather the mark identifying the source of a product or service.
To read more about trademarks, see the articles Protecting Your Trademark and Registering Your Trademark.
*This article is not to be construed as legal advice. It is a general discussion about the subject matter only. Seek legal counsel if you have questions pertaining to this matter and its applicability to your specific circumstances. Copyright, Alena Herranen. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced, transmitted or transcribed without permission of the author.
|INACO San Diego | San Diego Web Design | TV and Radio Web Sites | IT Consulting San Diego|
|Portfolio | Contact | In The Community | Web Hosting and Email | Testimonials< | About INACO | Sitemap|
|© Copyright 1999-2016 INACO. All Rights Reserved. | San Diego Web Design: www.inaco.com | A Neartec Company|