Trademark Registration

What is trademark registration?

A trademark is a valuable tool for any business owner or creative artist—it’s a way for customers to readily identify your company and your brand. Trademark registration protects that identity from misuse or plagiarism.

The trademark itself is a distinctive indicator, sign, or symbol that an individual or business uses to identify its products or services (the latter of which are also called “service marks”). This indicator could consist of any of the following:

  • Logo
  • Graphic/Image
  • Symbol
  • Design
  • Word
  • Phrase

Certain works, like some images and logos, might also be eligible for copyright protection; for more information on this, please see our discussion on copyrighting a logo.

How can a trademark registration benefit me?

Trademark registration is important to consumers and trademark-holders alike: it gives consumers confidence that they are in fact dealing with the company or individual they believe they are dealing with, and it gives trademark-holders confidence that competitors and scammers are federally prohibited from using a trademark to usurp the recognition that the company has worked so hard for, which could result in lost sale opportunities for the company at best and a tarnished reputation at worst.

Think about the Pepsi logo. Because of trademark protection, you and I can look at an advertisement or product, see the blue and red logo, and have the confidence we need that that advertisement or product originated with Pepsi-Cola and will meet the same quality standards as the rest of their products.

How is a trademark different from a copyright or a patent?

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all aspects of intellectual property protection, but the scope of their protection differs slightly.

While trademarks help protect the reputation of an individual or company’s brand, copyrights deal with “original works of authorship,” such as books, sound recordings, photographs and images, and they protect against unauthorized use, reproduction, and distribution.

Patents, on the other hand, protect inventions and new methods of doing something; this new use must be considered innovative, different in a significant way from previous inventions or methods.

(You may be wondering how an image could theoretically be protected by both a copyright and a trademark; the distinction would be in the specific desired protection. For example, do you wish to protect the way the image identifies your company, or protect against any unauthorized use or distribution of the image?)

For a more in-depth discussion on the three types of intellectual property registrations and their respective scopes of protection, please visit our Copyright, Trademark, or Patent page.

Click and Copyright does not currently offer trademark registration

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