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What Are Trademarks?

What Are Trademarks? | Trademark Attorney in Cary NC

A company can trademark their brand name in order to keep competitors from using it. Their brand can be a logo, slogan or other design that distinguishes them from other businesses. Trademarks fall under intellectual property law, which protects people and companies from misappropriation of their creative works.
Companies try to develop their brand and their message through logos, phrases and designs. They want consumers to see their name and associate it with the service or goods they offer as well as the standards of customer service they provide. A company wouldn’t want another business with a similar brand to confuse people into thinking it’s the same company or a related company. It’s a relevant concern because the secondary company might not be a legitimate business and could tarnish the original company’s name.
An example of a company name that has a trademark is Band-Aid. It’s so well-known as a maker of adhesive bandages that many people use their brand name as a noun for all bandages. A well-known registered symbol are McDonald’s golden arches. Sometimes catchphrases can be trademarked. The boxing announcer who coined “let’s get ready to rumble” got a trademark for it and now profits from its use in commercials, songs, and video games.

Case of Starbucks vs. Starbarks | Trademark Attorney in Cary NC

In cases of trademark infringement, another concern is dilution of brands. A few years ago, a dog day care center in Illinois named themselves Starbarks. In addition to the name similarity, their sign was green and white, the same colors as the coffee chain Starbucks. The coffee giant sued the small company, saying they had to change their name. In this case, even though one offers food products and one offers a kennel service, Starbucks felt that by allowing someone to use such a similar logo and name, they would be diluting their brand. The thought was that if other companies started using variations of their name, then eventually their brand would be worthless. Dilution of brands has happened before. In the past, the words aspirin and thermos were trademarks, but now they’re common nouns. Don’t let dilution happen to you.
If you're interested in learning more about trademarks, be sure to visit back with our next blog post, as well! Do you want to protect your intellectual property with a trademark? Call our office to talk with our trademark attorney in Cary NC who can help. We’re here to answer your questions about how to best protect your invention, creation or other work.

Eldreth Law Firm, PLLC  | Attorney in Cary NC

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