How to Trademark your Brand
Trademarking your brand is the best way to protect your business's name, logo, and other visual identifiers. There are two types of trademarks: word and image. You can also register both of these types in one application if you wish. The cost of getting a trademark varies from country to country.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies the source of goods and services. Trademarks can be words, phrases, logos and even designs. Trademark rights are granted through registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Trademark law protects you against unauthorized use of your trademarks by third parties in the same industry as you, which could confuse customers into thinking the unauthorized user is associated with you or your products or services. Your trademark also prevents others from using similar marks for similar products or services in the same market as yours.
What does a Trademark do?
A trademark can be used by companies to prevent competitors from selling similar products under a confusingly similar mark.
The only way to protect an unregistered trademark is by filing for federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This ensures that you will be able to sue for infringement if someone else uses your mark without permission.
What can be Trademarked?
Trademarks can be used to protect the following:
- your brand name, slogan, or logo
- a color scheme that is associated with your brand
- a sound that is associated with your brand (for example, the NBC chimes)
- a smell or taste commonly associated with a particular product or service offered by you (for example, the scent of perfume)
What can't be Trademarked?
A trademark cannot be registered if it:
- is generic (like "kiwi" for fruits)
- is functional (like "spring-loaded" for a watch band)
- is deceptive (like "100% organic" on a product that has only 0.04% organic ingredients)
- is scandalous or immoral (like "Kiss My Cat" on pet food).
A Trademark Protects your Business's Advantage
A trademark protects your business's advantage in the marketplace. It safeguards against copycats, imitators, competitors and confusion. A trademark also allows you to protect your business name and logo from being used by other companies in a way that could confuse or deceive consumers into believing they are buying something from your company when they're not.
A federal trademark makes it illegal for anyone else to use your mark or a confusingly similar mark in the same category of goods or services as those which you provide under that mark.
The importance of having a good brand is that it must be unique and original; otherwise, there will be no difference between your business/product and others'. For example, Apple Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Google Inc., etc. have very unique identities or brands that they have created over time by continuously working hard on their branding process in an intelligent manner with great care & diligence over many years!
A trademark is a great way to protect your brand and give it legal protection in the marketplace. Whether you're starting an online shop, or have a brick-and-mortar business, trademarking your brand will give you more freedom when it comes to marketing and selling products under that name. Trademarking also helps avoid confusion between similar businesses. When done correctly, this process can be quite simple!