Business owners routinely ask questions about the names and phrases they use to sell, advertise, and promote their goods and services.  This brings up the issue of what is a trademark and what can be trademarked.

A name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or any combination thereof that a business associates with its goods and services can be projected as a trademark.  By way of example, McDonald’s, Inc. uses several trademarks that we all are familiar with.  The “golden arches” is a logo that is known worldwide.  The phrase “i’m lovin’ it” is also world-famous.

Trademarks perform a dual role for a business.  Trademarks add value to the business through branding, but they also protect the goodwill associated with the business.  Trademarks increase brand recognition by distinguishing the product of a business from those of its competitors and making it easier for customers to identify the source of the product.  Furthermore, trademarks are enforceable against competitors that try to encroach on the goodwill of the business and confuse customers by selling a competing product of lesser quality under the same brand name.

If you or your business has any questions or concerns regarding an existing trademark, how to obtain a trademark or how to reserve the rights to a trademark, please contact me at your convenience.  Happy Spring—and let the MLB baseball season begin!

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