A trademark is a word, symbol, or phrase that is used to identify a particular manufacturer or seller's products and distinguish them from the products of another. For example, the trademark "Coca-Cola" distinguishes that manufacturer’s brown-colored soda water from the brown-colored soda of a different manufacturer. When marks are used to identify services instead of products (for example, "Walmart"), they are called “service marks” (but they are generally treated the same as trademarks).
In some situations, trademark protection can extend beyond words, symbols, and phrases to include other aspects of a product that serve to distinguish it, such as its color or packaging; this is also known as its “look and feel”. For example, the shape of Frangelico liquor bottles and the contrasting red soles of Christian Louboutin heels both serve as some of the brands’ identifying features. These features fall generally under the term "trade dress," and may be protected if consumers associate the feature with a particular manufacturer rather than the product in general. Such features, however, will not be protected if they merely confer a functional advantage.
From an Internet law perspective, the acquisition and use of trademarks pose some issues not encountered in the brick-and-mortar world. In addition to the obvious “confusingly similar” issues arising from public display of a trademark, the Internet adds the further complication of metadata. Metadata is information about a web page that is not visible to the viewer, but still in the header or elsewhere in a page. Metadata describing a web page may include textual descriptive phrases that can infringe on others’ trademarks. In defense of your own trademark, you may need to examine how your mark is being used, both publicly as well as hidden in the metadata of your competitors’ websites.
Trademark registration begins with a concept of how you want your business to be represented in trade. A trademark can include both textual phrases and graphical logotypes. Beacon Legal Group provides trademark help at a flat rate; we can work to register your textual or logotype trademark. This service includes conducting a search to determine if the mark is available and not confusingly similar to other existing marks, filing the application to register your mark with the USPTO, and answering any objections raised in the initial exceptions letter. With your approval and consent, BLG can then guide you through the rest of the trademark registration process.
Beacon Legal Group provides Internet trademark help in the form of both textual and graphic trademark services.
Once you have a trademark, you can lose it if you fail to protect it from use by others, or even from your own use of multiple versions of the mark such that the original becomes blurred. If you believe someone has infringed on your trademark, or someone has accused you of infringing on theirs, BLG can represent you so that you can reach a resolution. Usually this is done without court action, but BLG’s litigators are prepared to protect your interests through trial and even appeal if necessary.
Allow us to provide you with excellent trademark assistance. Call Beacon Legal Group today to set up a free consultation and see how we can work for you.