Your business is growing and the quality of your products or services has already given your venture an edge over the competition. However, beyond continuing to do what you've been doing, that is, successfully growing your business, how do you maintain and bolster the integrity of your brand? More importantly, how do you increase brand awareness while solidifying your brand's place in any given market?
If you've considered registering a trademark, you're on the right track. However, do you know exactly what can be trademarked?
In this article, we'll examine what a trademark is, what can be trademarked, and what can't be trademarked.
What Is a Trademark?
You've seen them. They're everywhere... lurking on store shelves, in print, elements of design, and so much more. In fact, a trademark can be just about anything. But before you run off to the trademark office, let's clarify that statement.
A trademark is any trait or feature which identifies your products or services in a manner which uniquely distinguishes them from a competitor's offering. In other words, a trademark is what your customers will come to associate with your business. This, in spite of the fact that other businesses offer identical or similar products and services.
A trademark is anything which can be uniquely associated with your brand and what it does. On that note, a trademark does not protect your business itself, or the products or services which it offers. Trademarks are designed to help your products stand out in a competitive world.
A trademark is potentially an invaluable asset for your business. Whatever it may be, it provides your target customers with information about what you do, and how you do it better than the competition.
What Can Be Trademarked?
As mentioned previously, a trademark can be just about anything. More specifically, a trademark can be:
- Product or service names
Any of the elements listed above (and even smells in some countries!) can be registered as a trademark. In most countries, as long as it can be represented graphically (whether by letters, a drawing, a musical partition, a chemical formula…) it can be trademarked.
What Can't Be Trademarked?
While almost anything can be trademarked, there are certain limitations.
For starters, you can't register a trademark which already exists. A mark must be unique to your business.
Furthermore, trademarks which are generic (i.e. the term "Hot Dogs" for your bratwurst company) aren't allowed; neither are descriptive terms which convey important features of your product (i.e. your beer company can't trademark the term "Microbrew"). Simply put, your trademark can't have any function (literally) other than differentiating your business from other businesses which provide similar or identical products or services.
Trademarks also can't be misleading, deceptive, or immoral in nature. Lastly, in most countries, they can't use the name of someone living, unless they offer consent.
Now that you know more about what can be trademarked, consider taking the next step to begin the registration process.
For more information about how to proceed with securing your trademark, contact us today!