What is a Trademark?
What is a trademark anyway? Is a question that I am often asked when I explain the areas of law I practice. Trademark is defined as, "a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product." The dictionary definition of trademark is helpful, but doesn't fully explain. Generally speaking a trademark is generally a word, phrase, slogan, symbol, or design, or combination thereof, that identifies the source of your goods and services and distinguishes them from the goods and services of another party. A trademark lets consumers know that the goods or services come only from you and not from someone else.
We see trademarks everyday. We walk down the street and see logos on small businesses, restaurants, and are constantly seeing advertisements on social media, television, and billboards. If we walk through the grocery store we likely rely upon many logos or symbols that tell us our foods are from brands we have grown to trust and rely upon. Clothing is covered in trademarks, and we recognize many brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas by logo almost instantly.
Essentially, registering your Trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office helps you protect your brand, your business name, your logo, etc. To obtain the nationwide protection offered by a federal trademark registration you have to file a trademark application, and if it is approved you receive a registration from the USPTO. States also offer registration of trademarks, but the protection is only granted for that individual state. For more information on Trademarks and federal registration contact Sara Witt at Witt Law, PLLC.