When you want to expand your business and its product line, more than likely you may need to apply for additional trademarks. Perhaps, you have a new product name, a redesigned logo or a clever catchphrase you plan to use to market your new product. As part of the trademark application process, you will need to show your trademarked name or design as different from other trademarked content.
When a trademark is weak
One of the things the United States Patent and Trademark Office evaluates when granting trademarks is if your trademark can be confused with another trademark. Your trademark could be rejected even if it isn’t identical to something else.
So, if your proposed name for your product sounds like another trademarked item that’s a similar product to yours, that’s problematic. If your proposed logo is similar to one already in use in your industry, that can cause confusion for consumers. Or even if your product name translates into something with a trademark in another language, you could have a weak case for receiving a new trademark.
That’s why conducting a thorough trademark search is important. You want to ensure what you intend to trademark is unique enough that consumers won’t mistake it for another trademarked item.
Avoiding something generic
You also want to avoid proposing a trademark that uses generic phrasing or uses words that only describe a feature of your product. You want to try to find something memorable, yet not too obvious. Who would have ever associated the word apple with computers before the late 1970s? Yet, now most Americans can remember what early Apple models looked like and await news on the latest iPhone technology updates. That’s the power of a strong trademark.
Using your trademark
When you receive a new trademark, you need to use it. Otherwise, you could lose the ability to protect it. So, you should think about if what you plan to trademark has staying power and is worth the time and effort of protecting. Once you have received a trademark, you can maintain its protection for years – as long as you keep using it.
Consulting with an attorney who has experiencing protecting intellectual property can help your business ensure your trademark protection is strong. You also can look at establishing a global strategy for your trademarks if you plan on marketing your products overseas.