4 minutes | Jul 9th 2018

019: What is a Trademark?

In this episode we discuss - What is a Trademark? The lead-off quote:

I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention. It has become a trademark, and I've got to keep it this way. ~Lucille Ball

TRANSCRIPTION Hello and welcome to the IS MY BRAND PROTECTED? podcast. I am Aurelia Mitchell Durant your host for today and today I'm just going to chat with you a little bit about what a trademark is and what a trademark is not the leadoff quote is from Lucille Ball. I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention. It has become a trademark and I've got to keep it this way. That is from Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy fame and that highlights what a trademark is not a trademark is not something that you do. That's her process like your hairstyle are the way that you walk a trademark is a brand that you build using commerce so arguably you could say that Lucille Ball is hair color was a trademark. But it wasn't exactly a trademark that can be protected. So, when you think about your brand and think about protection think about those elements that you want the public to seize on. But it has to be something that is tangible something that you can actually enforce as a particular trademark. So, a trademark is not just any catchphrase or slogan that you use is actually what you're going to use to build your brand around. So, for example, Nike is a trademark and they also have a popular tagline that they use. That's also a trademark. The tagline is “Just Do It”. And then also the logo is a trademark because those are things that you use in commerce. So, a trademark is not something that you casually stumble upon that you use occasionally your trademark for your brand is something that you want to be known by. Now, this is very distinct from what your corporate name is, for example, the trademark brand name for the Mattel company is Barbie. So, it's not the same name. And that's how you evidence that trademark. That's not exactly the same thing. The other thing that I want to point out is that you can have something called a state-wide trademark and that's where you have a trademark within a particular state or geographic region. However, when you federally protect your brand and register a trademark you have protection across the nation. And it also gives you some preference if you go outside the U.S. and want to do business there. The Internet makes all things global so having a federal trademark is definitely the way to go. Now the other thing that you should keep in mind is that you don't necessarily have to register your trademark you're going to actually have something called common law rights. And that's where you have the right to use it as long as you can demonstrate that you were the first to actually use the particular mark. But that's an imperfect way to operate and that's probably not the best way to operate your business it's probably better in most instances to actually registered the trademark. And that way you get a certificate that proves to the world that you actually own that particular brand. So those are my tips for today. And thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Is My Brand Protected podcast. Be sure to follow us on the web at www.ismybrandprotected.com. Safeguarding Your Dreams by protecting your brand.