Are You 'Up' on Trademark Law?
by Susan Dunn
Did you know that FIRST USE of a trademark will grant you common law ownership of that trademark in the particular market in which you currently offer your goods or services, but FEDERAL REGISTRATION grants you the exclusive right to a trademark in the relevant market nationwide?
You can go here for more general information on trademarks: http://www.nameprotect.com/tm_protection_reginfo.html
So, you’ve been using some name and now you’re beginning to wonder, as things get more crowded, ‘What should I do?’ Start with a free trademark search to see if it’s already taken: http://www.nameprotect.com/cgi-bin/FREESearch/search.cgi.
If not, you can proceed here: http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html
to register your name on the US Patent and Trademark Office electronic system.
Once you have your name trademarked, NameProtect will monitor it for you monthly, tell you about competitors, guard against threats to your brand, and alert you if someone is trade marking your name. Go here: http://www.nameprotect.com/tmmonitoring.htm.
Perhaps you’re wondering what the BENEFITS of federal registration are? Here are some:
· Provides nationwide notice of exclusive ownership which prevents others from acquiring common low rights through innocent adoption and use
· Creates legal presumption in court of your right to exclusive use
· Opportunity to make it unchallengeable by keeping it in use for 5 years from date of registration
You can go here to learn more: http://www.nameprotect.com/reference.html#FedRegBenefits.
What are the QUALIFICATIONS for federal registration? It has to be distinctive enough to identify the business as the only source of goods and services, and ordinary names (descriptive, laudatory, geographical, personal and generic) don’t usually qualify.
STRONG trademarks include
Fanciful. Made-up words like "Kodak".
Arbitrary. Real words used in a different way, such as Apple computers.
Suggestive. Real words that suggest, but don't actually describe qualities, like Greyhound bus.
WEAK trademarks include
Descriptive Trademarks, like "Donuts," or "Low-Cost Builders"
Personal Names, like Smith's Automotive.
Unless they develop 'secondary meaning,' like Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Generic words, like "aspirin".
Go here to learn more. http://www.nameprotect.com/reference.html#FedRegBenefits
The International Trademark Association, INTA, http://www.inta.org
, can give you information.
Check out their Checklist for Trademarks + Trademark Proper Use Kit. Join their TM Topics Email List to post questions, get answers, and exchange ideas with members and non-members, “from top level corporations, associations and legal firms. Go here: http://www.inta.org/tmcklst1.htm
And what about your URL? Global Domain Name Monitoring can help you protect your domain name. (http://www.nameprotect.com/freemon.html ) They provide monthly monitoring of new, potentially infringing domain name registrations from the general Top Level extensions - .com, .net, .org, and more - and country-code domain name extensions.
©Susan Dunn, MA, Marketing Coach, http://www.webstrategies.cc
. Let us help you make your business or coaching practice a success. We will help you write and launch your eBook. All services provided. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE eZine. Put “Checklist” for subject line. We offer web strategies, web design, article-writing and placement, ghost-writing, marketing plans, and consultation.
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