The Three Basics of Trademark Law

Trademark law is the branch of law that protects the identity of a business and the products they offer. This can include things like protecting a business's name from being copied by counterfeiters, and protecting the reputation of the business or its products from individuals who are offering similar services. There are a number of things that can be trademarked, including:

Some important things to know about trademark law are what is involved with registering a trademark, what defensive trademarks are, and how trademarks are defended by attorneys.

Registering a trademark

The first important aspect of registering a trademark involves simply coming up with the item that is going to be trademarked. These are generally already on hand, and are things like the name of a business, a product, or a descriptive or work or logo associated with the product.

A trademark attorney can then do a search in order to determine if anyone else has registered a similar trademark before. This will allow one to know if the trademark is safe to register, or if it needs to be altered in order to make it safe to register. In some cases it may require the company to decide on a different trademark.

A trademark attorney can go through the process of submitting the forms to register the trademark, and can keep a copy of the original documents for safe keeping. A single attorney can handle the job of handling the intellectual property of an entire company including things like product descriptors, logos, pictures, and names.

Registering defensive trademarks

Defensive trademarks are trademarks that are designed to expand the purview of an already established trademark. This allows a business to better show the intention of the trademark, and what aspects of the original trademark are central to the image that is intended to be protected. Defensive trademarks will often contain different variations off of the old trademark. This can include things like alternative spellings, logo designs, and similar words that also need to be protected. Defensive trademarks are intended to prevent copycats from being able to slightly change the trademark in order to take advantage of the image that was carefully made valuable by the holder of the original trademark. Defensive trademarks are one of the most valuable tools used by trademark attorneys when defending intellectual property rights.

Defending intellectual property

Finally, trademark attorneys can handle the job of defending intellectual property that has been infringed upon. A trademark attorney can pull a company's records from when they first submitted the trademark, and the records from the defensive trademarks. This can be used to show the intention of the trademark, and what key characteristics the intellectual property is meant to convey to customers. A trademark attorney can then identify key ways that the trademark was infringed upon. This can include things like using similar phrases, imagery, descriptive words, and variations of the trademark as a whole. A trademark attorney can also show that it is reasonable to believe that customers were confused by the two trademarks, and it resulted in them pursuing the business of one company thinking that it was the other.

Trademark attorneys will generally resolve disputes by simply sending a notice explaining how they have infringed on intellectual property rights. This will almost always result in the other party ceasing their actions. However, in extreme cases an attorney can argue the matter in court. A trademark attorney can also secure compensation for loss of business as the result of intellectual property infringement.

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