We’ve been writing about trademark law for a full year now and we’ve covered a lot. To help you better understand the ins and outs of trademark law we want to roundup some of our most practical posts to help you find the information you need to know about how trademarks impact you and your business.
In this post, we’ll cover trademark basics.
In our post What Everybody Ought to Know About Trademark Law we covered the three things you need to understand first.
First, the purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers. That is, trademarks serve as source identifiers for goods and services and help consumers find the specific goods or services they are seeking.
Second, that trademark rights stem from use in commerce. Technically, a registration is not even required, but a registration does have a number of significant benefits.
And third, a trademark protects names, slogans, and the like. Copyrights and Patents are different. Copyrights usually protect creative works, while Patents usually protect inventions.
Protecting your mark
In our post 5 Keys to Protect Your Trademark we discussed topics you need to learn to fully understand how you can protect your mark. Specifically: (a) that registration is not required, (b) common law protection only extends to the area in which you are using your mark and to your natural zone of expansion, (c) that rights are limited to the goods and services you sell, (d) that you cannot protect a descriptive mark, and (e) registration is strongly encouraged for maximum protection.
Speaking of registrations, we’ve covered a lot about how to obtain a registration.
To begin, we’ve covered Why Your Startup Should Apply for a Federal Trademark, and What To Do First: Company Name or Trademark. The benefits to registration include nationwide notice of your claim and ownership of your mark, and also a stronger ability to force infringers to cease their infringement. In the second post mentioned just above we provided guidance on how to reserve your business name with both your state and the USPTO.
What’s the USPTO? Glad you asked. We wrote all about the United States Patent and Trademark Office in this post: What is the USPTO and How Does it Affect My Business?
And lastly, we’ve covered trademark infringement many times on this blog. The starting point to understanding infringement is this post, Justice Explained: Trademark Infringement & Defenses. In that post, we discussed how infringement is judged based on likelihood of consumer confusion. If consumers are confused, then infringement is likely to have occurred.
As we move into our second year of blogging about trademark law and trademark applications, we hope you continue to find our blog useful for your business.
If you have any topics you’d like covered, feel free to contact us to tell us what you’d like us to talk about!
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.