How to choose the right trademark for registration?
A trade mark is considered as an important aspect of your business, it plays a crucial role in shaping the first impression of the services or the products offered by the company. Trademark surely helps to distinguish you from other competitors and helps you stands out. You actually create a unique asset when you select a mark that will add the value to the enterprise. Unfortunate things might blunt your marketing efforts and may leave you in legal disputes. Hereby, I will direct you on steps to take and how to choose the right trademark for your service, product or business.
Trademark is anything which distinguishes and identifies the source of goods and services of a particular company. Mostly marks comprise of words, images or the combination of the two, but anything that identifies the sources of products and services can be called as a trademark.
Trademarks are always sought to exist on a single spectrum from the weakest to the strongest one. What you should consider is, associated strengths of different marks. A strong and the distinctive marks is quite easier to register, that safeguard from misuse by other persons and the weak mark definitely have to face more challenges. They have the following spectrum of strength.
The arbitrary terms:
These are the words with common meaning but when applied to the business or services or products they are unrelated to the purpose.
Examples of most well-known arbitrary marks:
APPLE for computers, STONE for beer, BLACKBERRY for cell phones. The commercially recognized trademarks get afforded broad scope of protection from the third party misuse.
Coined or fanciful terms:
The strongest trademarks are usually invented or coined words which are very unique and don’t describe anything about the product or the service.
Examples of fanciful marks are: KODAK, VERSION. These marks are very difficult for the consumers to remember since they don’t have any inherent meaning. The owners of the trademark have the greatest opportunities since they are relatively distinct to other marks in the market. By establishing the goodwill, coined trademark are given the broadest scope protection against misuse by third parties. They are also easy to register and protect.
It is an existing word which directly identifies the nature of product or service without giving the consumer any imagination, perception or thought. It may hard to register and they grant a little or no protection as a trademark. The law recognizes that other businesses with the same concept can use the same words to describe the products or services. These terms can have a stronger protection when they obtain a secondary meaning through the acquired distinctiveness.
Usage of descriptive terms can be avoided since it requires the strength and the enough money to invest over a period to establish that you are an individual entity.
It suggests the features of the product or service, but it doesn’t directly describe it. However these create the some picture, imagination and a perception in a consumer’s mind about the product or service.
Some examples are SWEET-ARTS for candy, AIRBUS for airplanes and PLAYBOY for magazines. These are the strongest types of trademarks. Conversely there is always a fine line between the suggestive and descriptive marks.
It is a common phrase or name used for a particular service or goods and it cannot function as original. Examples are Escalator, and Delivery service. Generic terms will not be protected as trademarks and if the phrase is not clear, the term will not be considered as generic. Generic terms while choosing the words can be avoided as they cannot be registered.
Avoiding trade mark conflicts:
Violation takes place on the likelihood of confusion in the trademark. This issue is so common when dealing with the similar goods and services. These conflicts usually be evaluated based on the sound, meaning and sights. So you need to be very sure that your marks should not look like or sound like or connote anything which is confusingly similar to other brands. The most famous trademarks are permitted to have a broader form of protection. The owners of the mark have the liberty to claim a dilution regardless of whether the goods or services which are similar to the competitors. Do not choose the marks that are reminiscent to famous marks.
Mostly, as per the trademark laws, it prohibits the use of geographic terms as your mark. A geographic term which describes the origin of services or location or goods cannot function as a trademark since your brand competitors also need to communicate the location of their products.
Merely laudatory marks:
Wordings like (the greatest, the best etc.) cannot be used as a trademark. It just showcases the goods and services in a positive light. This is a very common type of services and products that are regarded as puffer by law. Consumers will be trained to recognize such as brand-identifying, advertising language and not as a distinct trademark.
Avoid the trademarks which cannot be registered:
You will gain nothing if you invest in a trademark that you can’t register.
Trademark registration is to protect your identity from competitors and also ensure your ownership rights in that mark. Make it easier to enforce your rights against copycats. Some kinds of words are difficult to register and that should be avoided.
Surnames cannot be registered as trademarks. For example: Wilson power boats, in this Wilson are “surname” and rest of the mark is descriptive. This is surely a poor choice of a trademark.
Avoid confusing marks:
A trademark which is confusingly similar with an existing mark cannot be registered. The mark “Sun-Screen” cannot be registered if already a trademark “Sun screen” been registered for a similar type of product.
Avoid three letter acronyms and numbers:
AT&T, IBM is distinctive trademarks since their owners invest and poured lot of money to become famous. Acronyms are very difficult to remember where colorful words are easily remembered. So, avoid using numbers in a trademark which tend to be less memorable. It is also true that there is only limited number of unused acronyms available. There is a chance that three letter acronym will be confused with someone’s mark.
Do use invented words:
Invented words are words which do not exist in any language apart from the mark. Invented words are a good choice for use as trademarks because they are not descriptive and they tend to be distinctive, you could create an invented word by simply combining other words. For example, Microsoft is a combination of Micro computer and software.
Try plant or animal names:
If used appropriately, these names tend to be memorable and convey a good image while still being distinctive. Examples are Tiger direct and ford mustang.
Perform clearance search:
After you come up with the potential brands, conduct a search in order to determine the category it falls under and whether it is a used or a registered mark. It will be useful if you consult a trademark professional to give you direction on the availability of the mark in a given location. By doing a full search, it gives a comprehensive range of information on how to choose the correct mark.
Register your trademark:
Once you obtain all the necessary information, you need to register your trademark immediately in order to receive the best protection for this investment which you just added to your business.
Trademark is a valuable asset which establishes a strong goodwill with your consumers. It is also important to select a protected mark and that should be a registered one. Seek the help from the professional attorneys who could assist you in the process of properly registering the marks and can avoid the pitfalls that are usually occurs during the application process. This is one of the biggest investments, so invest wisely by having a unique mark.
For more information -> Click here.