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What Is A Trademark And How Does It Work

What Is a Trademark ?

Olena Shmanko

Olena Shmanko

22 March 20243 min read

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What Is a Trademark ?

No one enjoys the hassle of legal battles to protect their company's name, yet this scenario is all too common worldwide. Take, for instance, the 2016 incident where the esteemed French fashion house Louis Vuitton sued a Korean fast-food chain named Louis Vuiton Dak for name similarity, resulting in a court-mandated name change. Louis Vuitton's earlier trademark on their name gave them a significant advantage in the dispute.

To prevent such predicaments for your business, it's crucial to understand the ins and outs of trademarks and the steps to effectively secure them, which I've broken down for you.

Let's start with the fundamentals.

What is a Trademark and How Does it Work?

A trademark is more than just official approval from the authorities, confirming that a certain way of identifying your brand is your own. It functions to protect your legacy and ensure the safety of your brand in a world filled with dishonest players and intense global competition.

Want to delve deeper into the topic and learn more about what a trademark is? Read on:

What are the different types of trademarks?

Did you know that sounds can be trademarked? You probably think of popular examples of sounds that are most likely protected.

(20th Century Studios has reserved the rights to Homer Simpson's exclamation "D'oh!")

Of course, words, names, logos, and slogans can also be trademarked. But that's not all:

Unique colors can be protected by brands – think of "UPS brown." Distinctive designs can be trademark protected; McDonald's golden arches are trademarked. You can trademark moving visualizations if they help differentiate your business. Consider the Microsoft Windows logo with its moving trademark.

How do trademarks work?

Trademarks protect business owners like you and ensure that what distinguishes your brand from others remains your own.

You also have various options in the event of a trademark infringement.

They are an absolutely essential part of any company's intellectual property portfolio.

But this leads to another question: how do you protect your trademark?

1.Protection under common law

Many business owners may already be protected under common law.

(Even if they don't realize it.)

This protection is provided when you use your trademark in commerce.

However, a common law trademark is limited. Protection under common law only protects you in the area where you conduct business.

That's why many opt for full federal trademark registration.

2.Federal trademark registration

The trademark protection obtained by registering with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides comprehensive protection across the entire United States.

According to trademark law, a registered mark gives you various ways to protect yourself in case of trademark infringement.

3.State-level trademark protection

Alternatively, if you do not anticipate needing country-wide protection, you can file a trademark for just the state you live in.

Your choice will depend on your strategic goals. For example, you may want to register your trademark with WIPO if you plan to register your trademark internationally.

4.International trademark registration

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers the Madrid System, a way to file just one trademark application for applications in over 120 countries worldwide.

If you anticipate a global expansion of your brand, this may be a path worth considering.

Are trademarks different from copyrights or patents?

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all forms of intellectual property — but they are not the same.

While trademarks protect unique identifiers of your brand (such as a logo, name, word, or slogan), copyrights protect creative works (such as songs, books, or movies).

Benefits of Having a Trademark

Legal Protection

A registered trademark provides its owner exclusive rights to use the mark in relation to the products or services it denotes. This allows for effective action against entities infringing on the trademark rights.

Business Value

A trademark can be a significant component of a company's intangible assets, capable of increasing its market value. It can be the subject of licensing, collateral, or sale transactions.

Building Trust and Customer Loyalty

A trademark helps build a positive brand image and trust among consumers, which is foundational for building a loyal customer base.

Financial support for trademark registration with EUIPO and UPRP. Secure your brand by taking advantage of reduced registration fees.

You have the opportunity to reduce registration fees by up to 75% thanks to European Union subsidies. This offer is addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a maximum funding limit of 1000 EUR. Last year, every application I submitted was granted funding. We would be pleased to help you obtain this grant.

Simple Ways To Trademark Your Brand

After years of being in the full branding business and witnessing what different brands have gone through just to keep a name they have branded and been using, there are ways we simplify branding.

When a client selects our company to do their branding, it is our responsibility to ensure that the proposed brand name and identity are unique and won't cause a trademark nightmare for our clients in the future. There is a simple process for this.

Before presenting name ideas to clients, it's important to do a quick trademark search and check domain availability. For this step, we use the free website Following that research, choose a name that will not cause any issues for the client. Before we start any designs, we have a naming presentation with some preview visualizations for the client to visually understand the proposed name concepts. Then, it's time to design a logo.

As a final step, use a trusted service to start the registration process for both the name and the logo. I'd recommend working with a lawyer on this. By combining both brand assets, you will save thousands of dollars and have peace of mind to continue investing in your brand.

In Conclusion

Securing a trademark allows you to set your offerings apart from your rivals' and equips you with a legal tool to combat violations. While the trademark registration process may be intricate and lengthy, the protection it offers for your brand's identity is invaluable. Moreover, a well-defined trademark system ensures your brand name and logo remain exclusively yours, providing you with reassurance and ownership certainty.

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