5 Things and More to Know Before you Trademark

Do you have that great once-in-a-lifetime idea? Have you created a great logo or a new word to represent the brand behind your idea? If so, you may consider obtaining a trademark at your state level or at the federal level. The process is not easy and an article by freelance writer Shira Levine I saw today offers some advice:

It seems like almost anything can be trademarked these days. The name of a product, a catch phrase, and your own name, if it’s beguiling, for that matter. All is for sale and fair game for the bidding.

Businesses have been known do whatever it takes to protect their brand, including shut down another trademark that threatens to be the slightest bit akin to their own.

Historically individuals and companies fight to trademark even the silliest of names. The trademark for the almighty iPad, a name that most definitely does not conjure up images of the latest slick gadget from Apple, initially had issues with Fujitsu. Back in 2003, Fujitsu beat Steve Jobs to the iPad trademark, purchasing the name for use as a mobile phone.

This wasn’t the company’s first trademark dispute, either; the name Apple itself caused a multi-year battle with The Beatles’ record company.

Another extreme example is HBO’s Sex and the City franchise, which has had its fair share of trademark issues. In one situation, a clever New York entrepreneur tried to start a health and fitness business called “Health and the City”, but HBO told the owner to back off their trademark. “Health and the City”, however, won that war.

1. Make sure your trademark isn’t already taken. Use LegalZoom or the US Patent and Trademark Office website to verify if anyone has it. Continue reading