TRADEMARK AWARENESS: Protecting your Business Names, Logos and Slogans


How do your customers distinguish your goods and services from those of other business owners? Is the primary factor your business name or do you have a unique logo or slogan that clearly identifies your product? Consider the following trademarks:

i’m lovin’ it

Just Do It

“Chester Cheetah” and “Dangerously cheesy!”

Though none of the above mention either the business name, product or service, you probably already know that these trademarks belong to McDonald’s, Nike and Frito-Lay Cheetos, respectively. When you think about your own business, try to identify all the names, logos, slogans, color schemes, sounds and any other identifying features that distinguish your product or service. These distinguishing marks are your trademarks.

Your trademarks represent your investment in goodwill. If you sell your business, your marks could be a key asset. It is therefore important to protect valuable marks and take steps to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar marks.

Trademark infringement may occur both intentionally and unintentionally. In some cases, other business owners begin using the same or similar name simply because it is fitting. They may not realize the name is already in use. In other cases, the infringement is deliberate. When a competitor notices that your trademarks are working for you, they may try to divert your customer base by using a similar mark to trick the customers.

To protect your trademarks against infringement, you will need to first identify your marks, determine which ones you wish to protect, and take the steps necessary to register your trademarks with the state, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and possibly other countries.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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