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Not all business owners realize they have a brand worth protecting until someone else infringes it. No matter the size of your company, you have a unique brand that deserves to be secured against those who would exploit your hard work. One area in which this is especially true is trademark law. The Keleher Appellate Law Group works every day to safeguard the intellectual property (IP) rights of businesses, large and small. Find out how our litigation team can serve your organization.

The Basics of Trademarks

A trademark is a name, symbol, design, or combination of these that represents a particular business by distinguishing its products or services from those made by other companies. Businesses use trademarks because they understand that consumers typically associate specific brands with quality, consistency, or a set of corporate values with which they agree. A trademark accomplishes three key objectives:

  • Identifies the source (i.e., the business) behind a good or service
  • Provides legal protection of a business brand
  • Helps a business fight counterfeiting and fraud

A business becomes the owner of a trademark from the moment it begins using it to identify its products or services. Consistent use gives the trademark owner limited rights within the geographic area in which the company does business. However, registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is critical to establishing stronger, nationwide rights that can be enforced in the courts. 

Various Ways to Protect Your Brand Via Trademark Registration

Businesses are constantly looking for an edge: some way to distinguish themselves from others and shore up a reliable share of the market. Unfortunately, some businesses fail to understand how vulnerable their brands are without strong trademark protections. These are a few examples of how a registered and enforced trademark protects your brand:

  • Business names: Your business name is fundamental to your company’s identity and its brand. By registering it as a trademark, you can prevent others from using your name and ensure it is only used in connection with your goods and services. A comprehensive search will be necessary to ensure the name is not already trademarked by someone else, which is why unique and creative names are more likely to be protected.
  • Logos: A business logo readily identifies your business and your brand in the minds of consumers, and thereby links it to the products and services your company sells. A well-designed logo should be readily distinguishable from others by creatively incorporating symbols, images, fonts, colors, and letters.
  • Slogans and taglines: Companies know that pithy slogans and taglines leave lasting impressions on the purchasing public. To be eligible for trademark protection your slogan or tagline must be inherently distinctive or have obtained a secondary meaning in the marketplace such that consumers automatically associate it with your brand.
  • Product and service names: Distinctive names for your products and services may also receive trademark protection. As always, the name should be unique so as not to create confusion and jeopardize registration. But when done properly, a strong trademark readily associates the product or service with a company that consumers trust.
  • Non-visual elements: Trademark protection isn’t just for visual impressions. Sounds, colors, flavors, and even scents can be trademarked in certain circumstances. Sounds are commonly trademarked but need to be unique, distinctive, or arbitrary to where they are easily recognizable in the consumer’s mind.

How Our Firm Can Help

The Keleher Appellate Law Group can assist with various aspects of your trademark and IP rights, including defending your business or prosecuting infringements through IP litigation. This means going to work to enforce your trademark against others or defend it against claims of infringement. We know the laws and procedures necessary to advocate for you in court.

To learn more about our trademark litigation work, reach out to The Keleher Appellate Law Group today.

About the Author
Christopher Keleher clerked for the Hon. William J. Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  This unique opportunity provided Mr. Keleher with an invaluable understanding of the inner workings of an appellate court.  He saw what persuades judges and what does not, and utilizes this knowledge every time he writes an appellate brief. The Keleher Appellate Law Group handles all phases of appellate litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Read more here.