A trademark is used to represent and distinguish the products and services of one company/person from another. Typically trademarks consist of images, slogans, shapes, colors, logos, symbols, graphics, sounds, or a combination of all of these. Pictures and words are the most widely used forms of trademarks, yet other forms can also be registered as a trademark, for example, the yellow color of Yellow Pages or the shape of Coca-Cola bottle. There are even cases of smells and tastes to be registered as a trademark (e.g. a Dutch company’s tennis balls with the scent of newly mown grass).
According to Forbes, the 3 most valued trademarks in the world are Apple (worth $170 billion), Google (worth $101 billion) and Microsoft (worth $87 billion).
What are the functions of a trademark?
Trademarks perform the following main functions: identifying/distinguishing products, assuring quality and advertising.
Identifying products is essential for informing the customers about the origin or source of the product and enabling them to distinguish the product from the similar ones.
The quality assurance function suggests that consumers use trademarks to recognize products which they know from their previous experience to be of good quality.
Advertising is another significant function of trademarks. It is a very effective way to promote the products/services of the company and facilitate trade.
Why is it important to have a trademark?
Companies and businesses spend large amounts of resources to build up their trademarks because consumers identify companies by their trademarks.
In other words, the trademark is a link between the consumer and business/company.
Here are several reasons why it is important for a business to have a trademark:
- Communicating with consumers: To succeed in the business world, it is crucial to send right messages to consumers and develop a successful image. A trademark can be quite an effective way of transferring messages about the mission, values, services and products a company offers.
- Enhancing availability: Trademarks make it easier for consumers to find you among the diversity of similar services and products. It makes your brand to stand out and capture consumers’ attention easily.
- Adding value: Trademarks can give more importance to your business and make it more valuable among your competitors. The trademark is the first impression people get of your brand.
Registering and Protecting a Trademark
Registration requires the following steps:
Conducting research: It is very important to conduct a thorough research before filing an application for trademark registration. It is necessary for determining whether the desirable trademark has already been registered by another party or if there is a likelihood of confusion with the prior registered trademark. Searching process can be really complicated and you should consider hiring a trademark attorney to help you in the complex researching process. Extremely knowledgeable and professional attorneys of the Margarian Law firm can help you to ease the task of researching and filing an application for your trademark.
Filing the Application Form: Application forms are available on the official website of the USPTO. It allows applications to file their application online. The filing fee for each class of goods and/or services is $325. Filing an application does not mean that the trademark will be registered.
Evaluation Period: Your application is forwarded to an examining attorney, assigned by the USPTO. He/she is responsible for its complete and final review. The attorney will contact you (your attorney) in case of minor corrections that are to be rectified. In case of no issues with the application, the examining attorney approves the application.The applicant will be given a certificate of registration signifying the fact of approval, which does not assert the end of the process yet. The proprietor has to file certain documents to maintain the registration.
After registration. the proprietor is granted a right of lifetime use of the registered trademark and it legally prevents third parties from making use of the trademark. A trademark registration allows the proprietor to sue for infringement, in case the trademark is used by another company/person.
The Margarian Law Firms’ trademark attorneys can assist you with the complex trademark acquisition and protection process. They will provide maximum protection of your trademark rights, prepare responses to refusals of registration, advise you on your rights complying with all the requirements of the trademark statute and rules.