Media Law and Ethics
8 October 2013
A trademark is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a successful business. The trademark or logo represents the identity and face of a company and typically has the first/greatest impression on the public. With such high importance, a trademark can often be difficult to create and a designer can feel a lot of pressure to make the perfect iconic image. The first step in creating a trademark is to decide what kind of mark it will be. There are five types of trademarks: generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful. (Bird, Ferrera, Lichtenstein, Schiano, 50). You want your trademark to be bold and memorable. Everyday more and more trademarks are being created, making it harder and harder to imagine a completely original design to symbolize your company. It is always a good idea to do as much research as possible. Look at as many different existing logos as possible to get ideas as well as see what to avoid.
Many trademarks today have an underlying symbolism that represents the company in some way. For example, “The iconic NBC logo has a peacock in white with six colorful feathers representing each division of NBC (when the logo was originally designed, as there are more now). The peacock is also looking to the right, often associated with looking ahead or forward.” (Twisted Sifter). Many companies like to use descriptive trademarks that at least hint at what the company or product is. Again, this is the face of your company so you want it to represent it as accurately as possible.
Once you have decided upon a unique and strong mark, now comes the paperwork and business aspect. When dealing with a process such as this, it is important to do everything the correct and professional way; no cutting corners. First and foremost before submitting an application for registration, you should complete a trademark search, “
A search could save you the expense of applying for a mark in which you will likely not receive a registration because another party may already have stronger rights in that mark.” (USPTO, 7). Once the results are in you are ready to begin the application process to register your trademark. Most of the time, applicants will hire an attorney to represent them that specializes in trademark matters. They are much more knowledgeable and can provide extremely useful legal advice.
Registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (a.k.a. USPTO) is not required by law, however it holds many advantages like being able to prove that you are not infringing on someone else, or that someone is infringing on you. Also, “Registered