A Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party to another. There are many things that can be trademarked, and that list seems to grow daily.
So, what can be trademarked? Phrases, words, symbols, and even colors are all eligible to be trademarked. Anything that distinguishes your goods of your company or business from another company or business that is used in a commercial setting qualifies.
For example, Beyoncé has registered trademarks for her first name, and even some of her nicknames. Her famous husband Jay’-Z has also trademarked “Shawn Carter” and “Jay-Z”. Recently, the Queen B even secured a trademark for her daughter’s name “Blue Ivy Carter”. You better believe Marshall Mathers has a trademark for "Slim Shady." So, the real Slim Shady please stand up, but only stand if you own the registered trademark, because Mr. Mathers has LOCKED down his brand.
While I don’t recommend going out to secure a trademark for your name, as unfortunately we all aren’t Beyoncé, Jay-Z, or Slim Shady, I do recommend you protecting your brand.
You can trademark things like your business name, logo, course name, podcast name, food labels, just to name a few. Think of Starbucks. They don’t’ play when it comes to trademarks. Starbucks owns many different trademarks, and has even trademarked the famous “Frappuccino,” which is why our good friends at McDonalds calls their drink the “Frappe.”
While we all understand the importance of the industry giants trademarking their logos, words, names, etc., small business owners also need the same protections. Unfortunately, if someone beats you to registering the trademark you will have to prove that you have common law protections to the mark, and could potentially be forced to rebrand completely.
It is also possible for someone to use your hard earned marketing efforts for their own benefits. Someone could very easily copy your logo, name, podcast name, etc., get a registration from the Secretary of State and capitalize off of your efforts. Even worse, your customer base could believe this other business to be you, and poof you have helped make someone money. They could also hurt your business if they confuse the customer base and deliver bad services.
Even worse, you could also get the dreaded cease and desist letter in the mail telling you to stop using someone else’s trademark, that you likely did not know existed as it is from across the country, or they are going to slap you with a lawsuit quicker than you can say “Frappuccino.” You could very easily have to turn over profits that you made to them, and also end up paying attorney’s fees, court costs, and fines associated with infringing someone else’s registered trademark.
So what do you do? Be like Queen B. Lock down your brand. Don’t give anyone a chance to make money off of your brand, take your hard earned money, or your brilliant idea.
If you are interested in finding out how the Trademark process works or to find out if you have any potential things that you should register reach out to Sara Chapman Law, PLLC. We do free consultations and can explain the process and walk you through each step.
Grab a frappuccino, frappe, or whatever beverage of your choice, put on Jay-Z, and take stock of what you have that could potentially become a registered trademark. Click here to schedule a free consultation.