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What is a Trademark?

Intellectual property has become one of the most valuable types of property in the information age. It is important to protect your company’s intellectual property. This means knowing the laws that apply to declare ownership of ideas, products, processes and brand imaging. What is a Trademark?

One of the most important types of intellectual property is a trademark. A trademark is something that sets your company or brand apart and makes it distinguishable from other companies or products.  Potential customers can see your trademark and identify it with you, and that trademark will invoke all of the thoughts and feelings associated with your brand.  An experienced Irvine, CA family law attorney can provide more insight into what a trademark is and can help you to secure the necessary protection for your trademarks. Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to learn more.

What is a Trademark? 

A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods from your company, as compared with another company.  A trademark can also be a combination of phrases, words, designs and symbols.

A service mark is very similar to a trademark, however it identifies and distinguishes the source of a particular service your company provides, rather than distinguishing the source of a product that is provided.

Trademarks differ from copyrights and from patents, although all three are types of intellectual property that your company may own. A copyright protects an original work of art or an original literary work, such as a song or a poem. A patent protections an invention or a process for designing or creating something.

There are a huge number of very recognizable trademarks that people see in their everyday lives, and these trademarks help consumers to make purchasing decisions.  For example:

  • The name Louis Vuitton is a trademark. It cannot appear on purses or clothes other than those made by Louis Vuitton or else trademark infringement would occur. Louis Vuitton has also trademarked certain interlocking LV designs.
  • The phrase “Built Ford Tough” is a trademark. It is a phrase that is used by Ford as a company catchphrase.
  • The McDonald’s Golden Arches are a trademark.

These are just a few of many trademarks that belong to some of the biggest and most well known companies worldwide.  Individuals and businesses can both own the right to trademarks.  However, you must go through the formal process of registering a trademark in order to obtain legal ownership and have the right to restrict its use.

Trademarks have to be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You can submit an application online using the Trademark Electronic Application System.  You can also mail your application or hand deliver it to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Hiring an attorney can be helpful when you submit your application in order to ensure that you comply with all requirements. If you have already registered and your trademark is being improperly used, an attorney can also help you.  Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to learn more.