Trademark Application Checklist
Did you aware that actively “managing” your trademark can help you maximize your brand equity? It’s known as trademark management. These are some things you may do to strengthen and potentially increase the value of your trademark. You can maximize the brand equity that your trademark generates for your firm through your products, services, and overall brand by actively managing your trademark.
Here’s a quick recap before we delve into the trademark checklist.
- A trademark is a word, name a slogan or phrase, logo, symbol, or device that helps to identify and distinguish you as the source of your products and services from those from other sources.
- Your trademark creates a “mental trigger” that connects you, the trademark owner, to the goods and services that bear your mark.
- A trademark is essentially the same as a brand name.
- Your identity and signature components are covered by trademark protection. Customers will be reassured by your trademark about the level of quality they may expect from your company.
Keep this in mind as you go through the checklist: Whatever you focus on and invest your energy in will grow, so choose the correct “mark.” You can do it!
MAKE A MAP OF ALL OF YOUR PRE-EXISTING TRADEMARKS.
Take some time to map out all of your trademarks. People frequently make the mistake of focusing just on their company logo and overlooking names and marks for services and goods offered, as well as mottoes and taglines. Trademarks can easily be some of your company’s most valuable assets, therefore you don’t want to miss one of your most precious assets.
FROM THE BEGINNING, THINK ABOUT “TRADEMARKABILITY.”
One of the most critical items on the list is to complete this task. Consider this: is your mark memorable? Is it simple to spell and speak? Is your brand’s mark distinctive, in the sense that it stands out and sets it apart from the competition?
ANALYZE AND TWEAK YOUR MARKS TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE AS STRONG AND DIFFERENT AS POSSIBLE.
You have to make as many powerful marks as possible. From strongest to weakest, the following types of marks are used:
- fanciful made-up names with no inherent meaning (“POLAROID” cameras, “ROLEX” watches, “PEPSI” for soft drinks, “AMGEN” for biotechnology);
- arbitrary names that are real words but are used in unexpected ways (“APPLE” for computers, PANDORA for music streaming);
- suggestive names that suggest some characteristics or benefits of the product or service (“BURGER KING” for good.
The first three sorts of marks are the most powerful, and they do not require secondary meaning proof to be registered on the USPTO’s Principal Register of trademarks. Descriptive marks are the most vulnerable sort of trademark, and they cannot be registered until secondary meaning can be established. (“Secondary meaning” signifies that your mark has become associated with your goods and services as a result of its long-term exclusive use in the marketplace.)
CHOOSE FROM THE MARKS THAT ARE AVAILABLE.
You’ll need to be aware of what’s available. Is it true that your trademark is available? Do you find the scene a little too packed with similar marks? To uncover the answers to these questions, start by conducting a common law trademark search to see what’s available. You can achieve this by using online search engines, social media, secretary of state registrations, and other resources. Take note of any additional marks that appear to be similar to yours and could be confused with or mistaken for yours. This step is critical because you now can assess the full “trademark/brand landscape” and determine which marks to pursue or pivot on. What you decide now can help you avoid problems later on (i.e., legal actions to stop you from using your trademark and all the business disruption that comes with that).
PERFORM A COMPLETE USPTO TRADEMARK SEARCH.
You should also examine the USPTO’s trademark database (also known as the “Trademark Electronic Search System” or “TESS”) to determine if any trademarks similar to yours have already been registered or applied for. When searching TESS, look for marks that meet all three of the following criteria:
- they are comparable to your trademark,
- they are used on related items or for related services, and
- they are “live.” Because it causes a probability of confusion, a trademark that meets all three standards will be denied registration by the USPTO.