Tips for Effectively Using Your Trademarks

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Posted over 5 years ago. 3 helpful votes

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1

USE THE MARK

o Trademark rights are acquired through use of the mark. o Use on Products: Affix your mark directly on your products and product packaging. o Use with Services: Use the mark in reference to your services in brochures, advertisements, websites and informational sheets. Letterhead and business cards are not enough. You need to use your mark along with materials that describe or promote your services.

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ALWAYS USE THE TRADEMARK AS AN ADJECTIVE, NEVER USE THE MARK AS A NOUN, VERB OR OTHER GENERIC DESIGNATION

Trademarks are adjectives. They are not nouns or verbs. If you use them as nouns or verbs, you risk allowing your mark to become generic and/or merely descriptive. Proper use as an adjective with the generic term for your product or service: YOURMARKTM feed supplements YOURMARKTM chocolates YOURMARKTM water filtration devices YOURMARKSM auction services YOURMARKSM website services YOURMARKSM educational services YOURMARKSM biological preparations Improper Use as a Noun or Verb: NOT YOURMARK is . . . . NOT Use YOURMARK to beat your competition . . . . NOT Over one million users have bought YOURMARK to build their business . . .

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USE THE TRADEMARK SYMBOL (R) OR (TM) OR SM

The (R) symbol should only be used with federally registered marks: YOURMARK (R) The (TM) symbol should be used with trademarks (marks that relate to products) that are not federally registered: YOURMARK (TM) The SM symbol should be used with service marks (marks that relate only to services) that are not federally registered: YOURMARK SM

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DISPLAY THE MARK SO IT STANDS OUT!

Be sure to display the mark on your products, product packaging and advertising materials in a distinctive way so consumers know your mark is a trademark. o ALL CAPS o Italics o Different fonts & different sizes o Stylized o Use a different color . . . YOURMARKSM auction services o And don't forget to use the proper designation of (R), TM or SM.

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USE YOUR MARK AS IT IS REGISTERED!

If you registered your mark as two words, always, consistently use the two words. For example, if you registered YOUR MARK, never use the mark as YOURMARK. Always use the mark consistently and as registered.

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CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

If you want to build customer recognition, you need to use your mark consistently. Do not confuse your customers. Instead, continually present your brand consistently. When you do vary your marketing strategy, incorporate the consistent elements so consumers see your fresh message along with your steadfast brand.

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EXAMPLES OF WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not modify a trademark to the plural form: OREO(R) Cookies, NOT OREOS. Do not change a trademark from its possessive form or make a trademark possessive: LEVI(R) jeans, NOT LEVI'S jeans, APPLE(R) computers, NOT APPLE'S computers. Do not use a trademark as a verb: .XEROX(R) photocopying, NOT XEROXING.

8

POLICE YOUR MARK!

Be on the lookout for activity that could endanger the use and ownership rights. Report any similar marks used by competitors. Instruct your sales force about proper use of your marks. If you license your products, use distributors, enter promotions, etc., be sure you have proper trademark licenses in place.

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BEST PRACTICES GENERALLY:

o Always USE the mark on your goods or your advertising for your services. o Use the mark as an adjective in connection with the description of your goods and services. NEVER use the mark as a noun or verb. o Always properly designate your mark with (R) or (TM) or SM o Make sure the mark stands out and consumers recognize it as your brand. o Use your mark as it is registered and use it consistently. o Police third party uses of your mark. o Seek the advice of an experienced trademark attorney if you run into any gray areas or licensing issues.

Additional Resources

http://www.uspto.gov

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