Understanding Trademarks
A Global Perspective
Types of Intellectual Property
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Copyright
Patent
Industrial Design
Utility Model
Trademark
Trade Name
Trade Dress
Trade Secret
Right of Publicity
Technology transfer contracts, know-how, customer
lists, distribution and logistics systems, topography/
circuit layout, plant breeders’ rights, etc.
What Is a Trademark?
– Word
– Symbol
– Slogan
JUST DO IT.
– Product or packaging
design
that identifies the source of a specific product or service and
distinguishes it from others in the marketplace.
Trademarks and Service Marks
Service mark
examples
Nontraditional Marks
• Sound
• Color
• Fragrance
• Design of a business
establishment
• Motion
Other Kinds of Marks
• Collective mark
• Certification mark
Trademark vs. Trade/Business Name
• Trade/Business Name: identifies a
company or business.
– Example: The Coca-Cola Company
• Trademark: identifies the goods or
services of that company.
– Example:
Functions of a Trademark
• Indicates the source or origin of goods or
services.
• Assures consumers of the quality of goods
bearing the mark.
• Creates business goodwill and brand
awareness.
Process of Securing a Trademark
• Select
• Clear
• Protect
Selecting a Mark
Distinctiveness Spectrum
The more distinctive the mark, the greater its level of legal protectability.
Generic marks are not capable of trademark protection. Descriptive marks
are capable of protection only with a showing of secondary meaning.
Trademark Searches
• International screening search
• Country-specific search
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Trademark registers – classes/categories
Corporate names
Internet uses and domain names
Other directories/dictionaries
• Local expertise
Obtaining Trademark Rights
• Rights are territorial – may be registered
through:
• Single trademark office
• Regional trademark systems
• Madrid (“International Registration”)
system
Obtaining Trademark Rights (cont’d)
Rights are obtained:
- By registration; or
- By use (common law rights)
Trademark Registration
• Registrability
- Meets the legal requirements – that is, not generic, not
immoral, etc.
• Availability
- Is not identical or confusingly similar to a prior-registered
mark or a mark that is the subject of a pending application
(assuming that the application is ultimately accepted).
- Is not being used in the same market as an identical or
confusingly similar mark in connection with similar goods or
services.
• Application Procedure
- With the national trademark office.
- United States: state registration (with the secretary of state)
or federal registration (with the USPTO).
Notice of Registration
®
______ is a
trademark/service
mark of _______
TM
SM
Loss of Rights
• Improper use
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Failure to police
• Genericide
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Failure to renew
• Non-use
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Cancellation
• Improper assignment
or licensing
Loss of Rights
Registered rights
Common law rights
Failure to renew
Non-use
Failure to police
Cancellation
“Use it or lose it”
Proper Use — Avoiding Genericide
• Once a trademark, not always a trademark
• Important to
police third
parties’
unauthorized
and/or
improper
use
escalator
cellophane
linoleum
dry ice
aspirin
Proper Use — Avoiding Genericide
• Use the ® symbol where appropriate
• Distinguish from surrounding text by using:
• Quotation marks – “Mercedes-Benz” cars
• Larger-sized print – Mercedes-Benz cars
• All capital letters – MERCEDES-BENZ cars
• Initial capitals – Mercedes-Benz cars
• Distinctive print – Mercedes-Benz cars
• Color – Mercedes-Benz cars
• Use the TM/SM symbol where appropriate
Proper Use — Avoiding Genericide
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Use the mark followed by a noun.
Incorrect: A KLEENEX
Correct: A KLEENEX tissue
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Do not pluralize a mark.
Incorrect: Two DELLS
Correct: Two DELL computers
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Do not make a mark possessive.
Incorrect: POST-IT’s quality
Correct: POST-IT note pads’ quality
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Do not use a mark as a verb.
Incorrect: Xerox a document
Correct: Photocopy a document on a XEROX copier
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Use consistent, proper spelling.
Incorrect: H and M
Correct: H&M
Policing and Protecting Trademarks
• Subscribe to watch services
• Internet searches
• Internal “eyes and ears”
Summary
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Just one of several types of IP
Not necessarily a trade / business name
Rights obtained via registration/use
Select a strong trademark
Search
Register
Properly use, police and protect
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INTA Understanding Trademarks Presentation