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Question: What is a trademark?

Answer: A trademark is a logo, word, symbol, number, slogan, design, combination of words, combination of symbols, pictures, or designs used to distinguish companies, or a company's products, from the competition.

Question: Why do companies use trademarks?

Answer: A trademark is used as a symbol to identify a company, or a company's product, as being superior in quality and superior in brand recognition.

Question: What governmental agency issues trademarks?

Answer: Trademarks are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce which is regulated by the United States Congress.

Question: How can I get a trademark for my company?

Answer: Under U. S. Trademark Law, you can produce and use your own trademark as long as it is totally distinguishable from one being used by another company.

If your trademark is similar to one that is being used by another company and it can be proven that it causes consumer confusion, you can be sued in a court of law and prevented from using your trademark.

Question: How soon should I get my trademark registered?

Answer: A trademark should be registered as soon as possible with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office thus adding extra protection for your trademark by keeping other businesses from using it or using similar names and logos.

Businesses are being created everyday and trademarks and logos are circulating through the minds of many twenty four hours a day. If you think of an idea, the chances are that someone else may have already thought of it or has thought of something similar.

Question: Can any product be given a trademark?

Answer: Some words and names of products cannot be used as a trademark because they are in common everyday usage. Words like radio, television, car, tree, bird, tomato, bag, coat, ladder, and water are used by everyone and probably will not receive a trademark designation from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Question: What are some of the trademarks and logos used by well known companies?

Answer: There are many, many brand names that are easily recognized by their trademarks. The word Kellogg's is a well known trademark. GM for General Motors is another and everyone recognizes the Nike symbol.

The Golden Arches is McDonalds well known trademark, hp is for Hewlett Parkard, the horse drawn stagecoach for Wells Fargo Bank, the bulls eye for Target Stores, Campbell's for the Campbell Soup Company, Sony for Sony Brands, and FEDEX for Federal Express Corporation.

Sports franchises are well known for their trademark names and logos. The San Francisco Forty Niners, the Chicago Cubs, the San Jose Sharks, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Twins, the New York Mets, the Buffalo Sabres, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Trademarks for company names and logos can be of great value when a company is sold. Sometimes the trademark is just as recognizable or more so than the actual name of the company.

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