Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry. Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively prior to filing to ensure that there is no possibility of infringing upon another party.
Let's assume you've done your due diligence, had comprehensive research conducted and your name and logo are legally available. The next step is filing for a Federal trademark.
Now when it comes to filing, a big question is should the name and logo be filed together or separately?
This decision is going to depend on a number of circumstances, as with most things in the trademark world. Let's take some time to go through a few different scenarios:
1) Your comprehensive trademark research on the logo shows that it is legally available whereas the trademark research on the name shows a similar, not the same, name within a related, not the same, industry. Your trademark attorney may then advise you to file the name and logo together to ensure registration.
2) In showing your mark (e.g. advertising, web site, tags or labels, etc.), the logo is ALWAYS shown with the name but the name is sometimes shown without the logo. In this case, you may want to file two applications - the name and logo together AND the name alone.
3) The logo you're using is the crux of your brand and the name you're using is entirely descriptive of your goods/services. You may want to trademark your logo only OR trademark your logo alone AND trademark the name & logo together.
An important thing to keep in mind regardless of your particular situation is that whatever is filed with the USPTO is exactly how you should be using the mark. The USPTO wants to see your mark as you present it to your customers.
Shannon Moore is the General Manager for TradeMark Express. Since 1992, TradeMark Express has met the needs of their clients with comprehensive research, application preparation, attorney referrals and trademark consultation. For further details, please visit us on the web at TradeMark Express or call Shannon directly at 800.340.2010.