Many business owners don’t realize there is a difference between a trademark and a trade name.
Despite the fact that many business entrepreneurs know their stuff inside out, many of them still get hung up on the difference between a trademark and a trade name. “The trademark is considered to be a branding tool and it will identify ‘their’ goods and services as being uniquely theirs – thus distinguishing ‘their’ goods and services from others in the marketplace,” clarified David Alden Erikson, a Los Angeles business litigation attorney.
On the other hand, a trade name is a business name, and it’s normally registered with the Secretary of State where the business is incorporated. The name basically identifies the business for the purpose of incorporation. “The thing to remember here is that just because you may successfully register a trade mark, does not mean you have additional trademark protection. The truth is that there a quite a number of trade names filed that conflict with existing trademarks, which means if they are used as marks they may result in a lawsuit for trademark infringement,” summarized Erikson.
“When a business registers a mark related to a ‘service’ and not a product, it is generally called a service mark. But, just to throw a spanner into the works, a service mark (legally speaking) is the exact same thing as a trademark. Thus, you have the leeway to trademark a company name, slogan, logo, product name or some other symbol that may be associated with what you offer to consumers. By the way, you may want to combine any of these categories (say a slogan with a company name) and call that your trademark,” Erikson advised.
The origins of trademark law are rather interesting. They came about as a companion to the unfair competition law – something that protects businesses against the unscrupulous doings of other companies. “Trademarks are also related to intellectual property rights, copyrights and patents. For a further explanation, I’d recommend you talk to a Los Angeles business litigation attorney,” suggested Erikson. Federal patent and copyright protection is in place to protect a business from other people copying their ideas. Trademark protection is in place to protect consumers from copying a businesses’ ideas.
“If you want a strong mark that will hold up in just about any situation, then give me a call. We’ll talk and I will walk you through what you need to do to accomplish your goals,” added Erikson.
To learn more about David Alden Erikson, Attorney at Law, visit http://www.daviderikson.com.