“A company’s trademark provides intangible value towards its success.”
Trademarks are undoubtedly the ultimate game changers for your brand/company/startup. With the right trademark, you can take your venture to new heights of success. Along with making a unique image of your brand in the market, trademarks also help customers retain your brand’s name via your trademarked logo.
A Quick Rundown on Contents
- What are Trademarks and its Examples?
- What is the Purpose of a Trademark?
- Why Do I Need a Trademark?
- What Are the Types of Trademarks?
This article will try to answer the most common questions about trademarks. So, let us dive right into all the information.
What are Trademarks and its Examples?
A company’s unique symbol, logo, or phrase that:
- Differentiates a company’s products and services from others.
- Can’t be used by other competitors providing similar products or services.
|Brand/Company Name||Apple McDonald’s Nestle Louis Vuitton Victoria’s Secret Dolce & Gabbanna|
|Phrase/Slogans||It’s finger lickin’ good! ® “I’m lovin’ it” America runs on Dunkin’® “What’s in your wallet?”|
|Product Names||iPod Big Mac Head & Shoulders Starbucks’ Frappuccino, DRAGON DRINK, VENTI|
|Company Logos||Nike’s Swoosh Logo Golden arches of McDonald’s® Missing Bite of Apple®(Image Trademark) NBC’s Peacock Logo Mercedes Emblem|
|Shapes of Products||Apple iPod Cocoa Cola’s Fluted Bottle Toblerone’s peaks and valleys in chocolate bars Weber barbecue 3-tone chimes of NBC ‘Yahoo!’ yodel|
|Color Trademarks||Qualitex’s Green-gold Fiskars Orange Wiffle-Ball Yellow NBC’s Pink Tiffany & Co. Blue. Target Red Post-it Canary Yellow Cadbury Purple. Barbie Pink. Cadbury Egg Purple (Pantone Color PMS 2685C) Home Depot Orange. T-Mobile Magenta. DeWalt Yellow and Black|
|Fictitious characters (Granted only when related to specific goods or services)||Geico Pink Panther Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.|
|Composite Trademarks (Combination of brand name & Logo)||Tiffany & Co. gift box (a name and a shape) Starbucks’ coffee emblem (brand name and a symbol)|
Did you know? The shape of goods comes under Trade Dress. You can read more about Trade Dress here.
What is the Purpose of a Trademark?
- To establish a unique brand’s identity in the mind of customers.
- Make it easy for consumers to distinguish your goods & services from others.
- Adds credibility and value to your brand.
- If registered, stop others from using your trademark.
- Guarantees the quality of goods and services to customers.
- Makes advertising & marketing easier.
Why Do I Need a Trademark?
- Get exclusive trademark rights in a country or multiple countries.
- To convey your brand’s message to the customers.
- To establish ownership over your brand name and its logo.
- Protect other competitors from selling the same goods & services under the same or similar trademark.
- To make it easy for the customers to find your brand.
What Are the Types of Trademarks?
Types of Trademarks: General And Specific
General Types of Trademarks
Unique but non-descriptive trademark that does not define the products, just suggest its features. Thus, Suggestive marks essentially ‘make the customers themselves connect the trademark to the product.
*Suggestive trademarks are highly strong in nature, way more than merely descriptive ones.
E.g. of Suggestive Trademarks
- “Roach Motel” for insect traps
- “Jaguar” suggesting speedy cars
- “Microsoft” suggesting software for small computers
- “Glow & Lovely” suggesting skin glow after using the cream.
- “BluRay” suggesting DVDs that work using blue laser.
Ok, but what about QR Codes? Can we trademark QR codes as well? YES, read to know how.
When a product is described in a common way, these are generic marks. For example: “Denim Shirts,” as the words are frequently used. As it is not allowed to register a generic trademark to avoid monopoly over the whole denim shirt industry, you can’t register a generic trademarks.
E.g. of Generic Marks
- Red Lipstick
These marks describe the components, characters, functions, traits, objective, or usage of the defined products or services. A descriptive mark is the weakest of the trademarks that can be protected. Moreover, if there are no other competing marks, a descriptive mark that can detect the source (having a secondary meaning or having grown to recognize the source of the goods or services in customers’ eyes) is registrable with the USPTO.
*Descriptive Mark are available only for the merchandise.
E.g. of Descriptive Marks
- American Airlines
- Premium Quality Gift Wrap
- Power Computing
- The Dress Warehouse
- International Business Machines
- Western Digital
A made-up or “coined” word is referred to as a “fanciful” trademark. Thus, Fanciful marks are made-up words that have never existed before or had any significance prior to their use.
*Fanciful” trademarks are “inherently unique” and easiest to register.
E.g. of Fanciful Marks
An arbitrary mark uses a common word but is assigned to a something that has nothing to do with its dictionary definition. Example: “Amazon” a rainforest, but term trademarked for amazon marketplace.
E.g. of Arbitrary Marks
If I can register my trademark on my own, why to hire a trademark attorney? Well, this is why you must Hire a Trademark Attorney
For companies that provide services, service marks are available that can be registered with national trademark offices (EUIPO, CIPO, USPTO, etc.). Most companies use a combination of trademarks & service marks. For e.g., Amazon (service mark for marketplace services & trademark for kindle), McDonald’s (Service mark for meal services & trademarks for their products such as Big Mac).
E.g. of Service Trademarks
- Etihad Airways
With a certification mark, you signify your product or services to prove its authenticity to customers in first look. These marks are used for showcasing the product’s certification with respect to its components, origin, production of goods, service quality, etc.
Moreover, anyone can register a certification mark as long as they have a legal personality.
E.g. of Certification Trademarks
- USDA ORGANIC
When a combination of moving picture/logo and sound is trademarked, it is a motion mark. Motion trademarks are hard to register.
E.g. of Motion Trademarks
- Windows Logo
- Yahoo’s Yodel
- Lamborghini’s mark
It is the combination of all the elements of a product or service. E.g., let us suppose you buy a Coca-Cola Bottle, now its fluted shape, its logo, packaging, color, flavor, etc., collectively form the trade dress. Trade dress can be registered with USPTO.
E.g. of Trade Dress
- Grills of Rolls Royce Car
- Red Tab on Levis Denims
- Product configuration (Converse sneakers)
- Shape of Products (Coca-Cola’s Fluted Bottles)
- Store Interiors (Apple showrooms)
It is the formal name under which a person or firm does businesses. A trademark provides a legal framework for protecting IPR to businesses for a specific brand that may be coupled with a trade name. As most businesses have an “LLC” or “Inc.” at the end of their name, they remove these letters while advertising or marketing, example would be IBM Inc.
Old Navy, Athleta, and Banana Republic, for example, are all owned by Gap Inc.
Members of an organization or group own and utilize collective marks to identify themselves or their products or services. A collective mark helps to identify the degree of quality or reliability, geographical location, or other attributes of the goods and services.
E.g. of Collective Trademarks
- ICAI members in India use the mark of a CA
- CPA mark used by the members of the Society of Certified Public Accountants
- CII (Confederation of Indian Industry)
A symbol, depicted visually, positioned on a certain section of a product in a set proportion to the product is known as position trademark. Position marks are unconventional marks as they are recognized by the specific position in which the mark is affixed on the products.
E.g. of Position Trademarks
- For decorations of eyeglasses frames
- For decorations of clothes
- For elements of decorations of shoes
Ready to Get Your Brand to New Levels with TMReady?
Since decades, TMReady has been helping companies and startups with trademark search, trademark registration, trademark monitoring, and docketing services. Also, we provide end-to-end IP services for our customers at affordable pricing. Get your trademark registered with us and take the first step towards establishing a market presence of your brand. Have more queries? Visit us to know more about our services
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