Every business in Las Vegas and elsewhere uses trademarks in some form or other. When business owners create a name, logo or commercial catchphrase for their company, they are using a trademark. Once registered, a company’s trademark should be protected from infringement by others. It is important, therefore, to understand the elements that go into choosing a trademark that is solid and not easily copied.
Why should a trademark be strong and identifiable? First, one must understand the definition of a trademark. This, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is a symbol, design, word or phrase that helps consumers recognize a particular brand. The right trademark can make a company’s brand or service stand out from others.
The International Trademark Association illustrates the importance of creating trademarks that are distinctive and well-thought out. Nearly everyone recognizes the iconic red-and-white script of the Coca-Cola Company. The same can be said for the McDonald’s company’s “I’m Lovin’ It” catchphrase. The strongest trademarks may include the following:
- A common word that is unrelated to the product or service, such as Apple computers
- A made-up word that means nothing but can become easily recognizable – for example, Exxon or Xerox
- An imaginative word or combination of words that suggests what the company is about, such as Executrain for a company that specializes in corporate training
- A title that directly identifies the brand, as in Shear Happiness for a hair salon
Business owners should do extensive research on a potential trademark before registering it. It is important to make sure the potential trademark is not too similar to an established brand, especially if the business may become nationally or internationally known. One might consider the legal ramifications, for example, if a small business owner designed a logo that could easily be confused for Mickey Mouse’ iconic ears.
With careful thought and consideration, the right trademark may become a valuable part of a company’s visibility and success.