Trademark Basics: What to Know Before Registering!

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It’s the holiday season, and many people are gearing up to launch a new business or program in the coming year. Do you wonder how you’re going to protect that amazing new name you came up with!?

The answer is a trademark!  A registered trademark is a designation of the source of goods or services (i.e., who made it or provides it). It’s not necessarily your business name.   It is a word, phrase, or logo (or combination) that distinguishes the goods/services of one party - meaning WHO is selling it!

What can you register as a Trademark?

- Business Name

- Group program

- Logo

- Online Course

- Ebook

Registration with the US Government is when (AND ONLY WHEN) you can use the ® - which means its a registered mark and you then have the legal right to keep anyone else from using it in your field of services/goods.

Otherwise, there are a couple designations you can apply before you officially register it with the US Government. The TM  means TradeMark is for GOODS.  Think Starbucks - when you see that lady, you know the good you are getting is coffee. YUM.

SM, on the other hand, means ServiceMark - and you guessed it - is for SERVICES. Think United Airlines - with flying being the service you are getting.

Trademarks must be distinctive, but they last indefinitely (or as long as they are used properly). Meaning, for the use it was originally intended (It’s known as LIVE). If Starbucks® decides to starts selling shoes instead of coffee; they are going to have to register a new trademark for use with shoes (and the current mark would be DEAD).

So are you interested in registering a trademark?