What Should I Trademark?

As you research and explore the trademark registration process and how it applies to your business, questions are sure to arise. While there are many helpful articles that articulate each step necessary to achieving a trademark registration, it is just as important to understand what should be trademarked as it is to know what can be trademarked. If you are going to begin investing in an intellectual property portfolio for your business, ensure that this endeavor is worthwhile by selecting the correct aspects of your branding for which to pursue a trademark registration.

Begin with the most substantial trademarks.

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Your very first trademark should be one of the most crucial pieces of your branding—in most cases, this is either the name of the business or its primary product or service offering. Either of these options would be an ideal first addition to your trademark portfolio. Your business name, in particular, is advantageous because filing for a trademark will typically include a preliminary search before submitting the application. A comprehensive trademark search, which is a step best performed by a seasoned trademark attorney, will discern if the application you wish to file will be blocked by a previously registered trademark, or perhaps another overly similar mark that may already be in use in your industry. This research will not only prevent potential infringement issues down the road, but it will also help you to avoid building equity within a brand or company name that will inevitably need to be changed. In summary, to provide a strong foundation for your portfolio, you should trademark the most integral elements of your company, such as the business name or standout product names.

Look for other key elements to expand.

Once you have obtained a trademark for your business name and key services or products, you should move on to the other aspects of your branding that can round out your filings. This can include a logo or slogan that you may use on your company website, in advertisements, or as part of any other initiative by which consumers can recognize your business and your brand. Logos can function as the most distinctive form of identification that your brand possesses, so it is imperative that you protect it with a trademark registration. Design searches are a crucial part of the application process for logos, as they ensure that your logo is truly unique and will not cause confusion with any other trademark in existence. Once confirmed, you should decide whether or not you want to file for your logo in color. Your trademark attorney can offer valuable advice while making this decision, but ultimately, a logo filed in color can only be used with those specific color variations. A logo filed in black and white, however, can potentially be used under a rainbow of colors and still be protected. For more information on trademarking logos, check out our post here.

Slogans are another important aspect of many businesses’ marketing strategies. You should consider trademarking any key phrases that are used, especially those that customers associate with your products. Successful slogans are typically succinct and original, standing out to the listener and creating a connection to your business. A trademarked slogan must be distinctive in this manner, and it also cannot be too generic for the offerings it is affiliated with. An attorney can be helpful in advising you about your tagline and can even perform a trademark search for the phrase. Overall, slogans acquire value, and it is essential to the integrity of your brand that you protect each one with a registration, therefore restricting anyone else from utilizing a similar phrase that may harm your business and its offerings.

How do I start?

Ultimately, strong trademarks can play a significant role in your brand’s recognition and profitability. Make sure that you are selecting the proper pieces of your company to trademark by enlisting the assistance of a trademark attorney—in addition to drafting and filing the applications themselves, attorneys can conduct critical trademark searches, provide insightful advice regarding next steps, and provide the best possible chance for your application’s success. Take the guesswork out of picking the right trademarks by reaching out to an attorney at Gerben IP for a free consultation—they would be happy to guide these important choices and begin building your trademark portfolio today.

Josh Gerben, Esq.

Josh Gerben, Esq. is the founder and principal of Gerben IP. In 2008, Mr. Gerben started the firm to provide high-quality trademark services at reasonable prices. Today, he is recognized by the World Trademark Review as a top trademark filer, having registered over 7,500 trademarks. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.

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