The Beginner’s Guide to Registering a Trademark
For any business to succeed, it must stand out from the competition and offer clients a clear and recognizable brand that they can trust. Registering a Trademark is one of the most crucial ways to create value for your business.
The Basics of Registering a TrademarkAny word, phrase, symbol, logo, or design can be categorized as a trademark. These creative assets are what distinguish your company from the rest, while also allowing current and potential clients to recognize the quality and dependability of your goods and services. In short, a trademark is whatever makes your enterprise unique, which is why you should secure one before a competitor does. Every trademark must be registered with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO), which will give you exclusive rights to the trademark nationwide.
Not All Trademarks Are Created EqualTrademarks fall under four major categories, each of which vary in style and general ease of registration.
Fanciful * These are the strongest trademarks to register because the names are totally made up and are thus unlikely to already be taken or confused for another brand. Perhaps the best-known example is Google.
Arbitrary * A step below fanciful are arbitrary trademarks, which use real words but are unrelated to the product or service of the business. An easy example of this is Apple, which uses the name and logo of a fruit despite specializing solely in consumer electronics.
Suggestive * These are names that imply something about the nature of the good or service without totally describing it. Think of the name Netflix, which suggests something to do with online movies. Suggestive trademarks are often spelled in a stylized way to enhance their uniqueness.
Descriptive * A descriptive trademark is the most straightforward, directly telling the public what the business provides. While common among small business owners, it is rare to find a major company that can get away with registering a generic name unless it has been used for a long enough time to be specifically associated with the company * think International Business Machines (IBM) for computers.
Fanciful and arbitrary trademarks are almost always easy to register since they are the most unique. By contrast, suggestive and descriptive names are more difficult, as they are likelier to already be taken or to be found too broad by the USTPO. It is not uncommon for business owners to change the name or logo of their company to better their chances of securing a trademark. You will need to think very carefully about what you have in mind for your enterprise in the long term.