Branding gives your company personality, and tells the public a story about what kind of business you are.
Your business name, the colors you choose for your logo, and the way you communicate with consumers each help create a memorable impression with the public.
Telling a consistent story is crucial, and so your online presence on your website, social networking sites, business cards, letterhead, packaging design, and even storefront design should all match and convey the same message. Read my published article about how Apple® successfully branded its company, and what entrepreneurs can learn from its example.
You can protect creative branding under federal and state trademark law. If you choose a distinctive enough name, logo or packaging design, you can obtain a trademark registration.
Registering a trademark gives you certain important rights, such the exclusive right to use the trademark in commerce. You may have certain rights without registration, but registration is much more powerful and a greater asset for your company.
We can help you choose a strong, inherently distinctive trademark and register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The registration process is complicated and requires much more expertise than simply filling out an application. Consulting with experienced trademark attorneys is important to ensure that you are adequately protected.
Packaging designs, known as “trade dress,” may also be eligible for federal trademark registration. Provided that the design is non-functional, helps identify your company as the source of the product, and is not confusingly similar to a third-party’s design, you may succeed in obtaining a registration.
For example, Heinz® has a federal trademark (trade dress) registration for the distinctive design of its ketchup bottle. If you wish to start a condiment company, you cannot use a bottle with the same shape as Heinz’ bottle without infringing Heinz’ trademark rights, even if you use different names and colors.
Trade dress registration is more difficult to obtain than an ordinary trademark registration, but we have successfully submitted several trade dress applications approved for registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
When someone uses a logo, trade name or packaging design which is confusingly similar to yours, without your permission, you must enforce your rights. Trademark disputes may resolve quickly after several phone calls, but litigation is sometimes necessary to stop an infringer. If your trademarks are being infringed, we can protect your rights by obtaining a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, negotiating a settlement, or, if necessary, resorting to litigation.
If you receive a cease & desist letter or need to enforce your rights, contact us immediately to learn what options to have and how to proceed.