Why Selecting a Strong Trademark is Important For Your Business?
Just as important as it is to offer high-quality products and services, so is a trademark that is as unique as your business is. It is an integral component of your business entity that can help protect the inventor or creator of original ideas, works, or expressions. Thus, selecting a strong trademark is important to help protect your work and establish your ownership over a name, logo, or brand.
A registered trademark protects your brand from infringements, counterfeits, and unauthorized use by third parties. From a consumer’s point of view, a trademark makes it clear that a particular product or service is coming from an authorized source. This helps build credibility in the customer’s mind. Registering your trademark establishes your sole rights to use, modify, or sell the products, services, or brand – and prevents third parties to register/use similar marks for their own business.
Why Choose a Strong Trademark?
But it all begins with finding a strong trademark to register. Using merely descriptive or generic terms that describe their products and services may lead to misperceptions, lost business, and even legal proceedings. Therefore, it is important to choose a strong keyword that is distinctive and also adheres to the USPTO’s guidelines.
Selecting a strong trademark means that consumers can clearly and quickly identify your business as the source of your products or services – and not any third party. The stronger your trademark is, the easier it will be for others to use it unscrupulously or without your permission. Weaker trademarks can be costlier and harder for businesses to defend. This is because they do not often have strong legal protections like good trademarks.
So, let’s understand how to choose a strong trademark.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Trademark
Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a good trademark:
Avoid unregistered trademarks
Registering your trademark with the USPTO is important because it helps establish your legal rights over a name, brand, or logo – and also protects it from infringements or unlawful use. But the USPTO stresses “Acceptable” trademarks and “Unacceptable” trademarks. So, make sure you keep these in mind and choose a trademark that isn’t difficult to register.
Strength and Uniqueness of the Trademark Matters
When selecting a strong trademark, keep the following things in mind that can help determine the distinctiveness and strength of the name.
- Fanciful trademarks: These are original words invented in relation to the products or services. For instance, Pepsi® defines cold drinks.
- Suggestive trademarks: These are names that help establish a certain quality of the product or service, but not in an outright manner. For instance, the brand Coppertone® is a registered trademark for sun-tanning products. It “suggests” that the product will give your skin a shimmery copper tone but doesn’t do it explicitly. That’s what makes the trademark stand out from its competitors.
- Arbitrary trademarks: These are actual words, but do not have any relation with the product or service. However, the USPTO stresses using a “unique” arbitrary name to get it registered. For instance, Apple® for a computer or mobile phone company is unique.
Prevent Using Unacceptable Words When Selecting a Strong Trademark
According to the USPTO, weak trademarks are typically “generic” and “descriptive” and hence, difficult to protect against infringers. In many cases, these are also not registrable under the U.S. trademark law.
Generic trademarks are extremely “common” – typically, everyday names that we use for goods and services. For instance, “Bicycle” for a bicycle manufacturing company or a bicycle shop. The name does not indicate the “source” of the product and hence, cannot be registered federally.
On the other hand, descriptive trademarks describe a certain aspect of your products and services but do not establish or help distinguish the source. Typically, they are unacceptable for trademark registration, except in cases where the trademark has become distinctive because of use in commerce for many years. For instance, “Creamy” is used for a yogurt brand.
Avoid Words that are Closely Similar to Other Trademarks
Do not use words that are likely to be mistaken by other similar trademarks. This can create confusion in the minds of your consumers or may not be registered in the first place.
Keeping these factors in mind will help in selecting a strong trademark that is distinctive and represents your brand, business, products, or services uniquely.
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