November 6, 2006
Trademarks and Superstitions
Seth Godin has me thinking about trademarks. Moreover, I have noticed that for some reason a number of bloggers are posting about the difficulties and ambiguities around registering trademarks and what they actually are. Seth's post refers to generic trademarks, a subject I have written about before.
He also has an interesting concept: to register a trademark, you have to follow a few "superstitions." You have to first let everyone know that the name you have chosen is a trademark, through a variety of means that may or my not work. He also clarifies what "(tm)" means after a word — you can do that to almost any mark you deem to be your trademark (once per page) — and when you get around to registering it, you add a ® after the name instead of a ™.
You never really need to use a (c) — Godin says that’s "just dumb".
Enter Bill Binnig at Jaduka, who has discovered that registering a trademark is pretty easy to do yourself — and I agree to some extent.
You just go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and follow the instructions. The USPTO offers a wealth of information indeed and if things go seamlessly you can get your ® with little stress. It is when there are competing trademarks, or the trademarks are under contention, or you are not even sure if you need to trademark a name that it helps to get a specialist involved.
You also have to think about other things, of course, such as registering a domain name, which can be just as or even more difficult. The Private Intellectual also has a wonderful post up today about "Trademark Foolishness" that I urge do-it-yourselfers to read before registering.
For instance, you may think you have a perfect right to trademark your name, just as when T-Mobile thought they could trademark "T-", and discover, as T-Mobile did, that letters and dashes are in the public domain, thank you very much. Some common words, like "pod", are also hard to trademark — right, Apple?
Sometimes trademarking products can be a step backward for the person seeking the trademark, as is possibly the case with Ethiopia's efforts to trademark the names of certain coffee beans.
Posted by William Lozito at November 6, 2006 11:50 AM
Posted to Trademarking
TrackBack URL for this entry: