Are you looking for more information on trademark law? If so, you have come to the right place. A trademark is a word, symbol, or phrase that manufacturer’s use to sell products and distinguish themselves from other manufacturers. The Nike swoosh, for example, is a trademark symbol. Similarly, the phrase ‘I’m lovin it’ is an example of a trademark phrase. Trademarks, however, do not have to be words, symbols, or phrases. They can also be a type of packaging or a unique shape. Trademarks are used by companies to help customers easily identify their products. Trademark laws are laws, governed by both federal and state law, that help to protect the trademark of a product or company. When covered by trademark law, anyone who uses the trademark will face severe legal penalties.
What types of trademarks qualify for legal protection? In order for a trademark to be covered by law the trademark must be distinctive, meaning it must make the product easy to identify. All qualified trademarks must be arbitrary or fanciful, suggestive, or descriptive. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these means. A trademark is arbitrary or fanciful if it has no relationship to the product in which it is selling. The Nike swoosh, for example, has no logical connection to shoes, making it an arbitrary and qualified trademark. A suggestive trademark is one that is suggestive of a characteristic of the product. Powerade, for example, is a type of drink that gives you energy. The name Powerade is suggestive of the products use. A descriptive mark, on the other hand, directly describes the product. All Bran cereal, for example, suggests that it is an all bran cereal.
So your product qualifies for protection, but how do you go about obtaining it? There are 2 ways that an individual or company can acquire a trademark. You can obtain a trademark by either being the first to use the trademark, or by being the first to register it. Trademarks are registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This registration gives you the protection that you need to prevent others from using your trademark. Anyone who does use it can be sued in a federal court.
If someone has used your trademark you can take them to court. In order to win your case, one must be able to prove that the sale of the product caused confusion to customers. Within court, the judge will look at several factors. These include: the strength of the trademark, the proximity of the products, the similarity between the products, evidence of customer confusion, and the defendant’s intent.
If you are selling a product and would like to trademark it, be sure to register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Doing so will ensure that you are the only one with rights to the mark and that anyone who uses your trademark will be subject to legal penalties.