Trademarks are a form of property a business or person owns that is used in the flow of commerce. Protecting
your trademarks is a critical step in your business.
What is a Trademark?
The answer to this question is fairly simple at first glance, but becomes more convoluted as you look into the
issue. A trademark is what is known as an "identifier". It is used to identify a product, service, brand or even
business. To understand this, one must simply consider a real world example. If you see a shirt with a sideways
teardrop, a swoosh if you will, what name immediately comes to mind? The answer should be Nike. The swoosh is their
trademark. When someone sees it, they know they are looking at a Nike offering. This creates a certain credibility
in their mind in regard to the product.
Why obtain a trademark for your product, service or business? Simple. You want to carve out your niche and
protect it. Let’s return to our swoosh example. If you see a pair of shorts with the swoosh on them, you probably
expect them to be made well and last. Lord knows the price suggests as much! Now, what if you see a pair of shorts
with a vertical swoosh. Is it a Nike product or not? If not, the vertical swoosh clearly causes confusion, which
means it infringes on the Nike swoosh. Nike can then go ahead and restrain the other company from using the
In much the same way, you should be carving out a niche for your marks. This is true whether you offer a
service, product or whatever. Protect it! The mark will be the ammunition you need to keep others from trying to
swipe your customers or clients by infringing on your intellectual property.
One should also keep in mind that trademarks have value in and of themselves. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s
consider a simple example. Let’s say you owned a web design company. Now let’s further assume you figured out some
way to get Google to allow you to use their trademarked name as part of your advertising campaign, to wit, “XYZ
Website Design – Endorsed by Google”. How valuable would that be? Do you think people would be selecting you over
competitors? Of course they would. Google would essentially be lending you its credibility. In this sense, the
value of the trademark is incredibly high and the same will be true for you as your marks gain more and more
What is a trademark? It is a critical form of intellectual property that needs to be protected. We’ve created
this site to provide you with information on trademarks in, hopefully, plain English. Feel free to browse our
different topics, which contain a bevy of articles, by using the menus.
The WIAT Crew
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