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Trademark

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Trademarks and Commercial Identifiers
Trademarks—also known as commercial identifiers or marks—can be words, phrases, logos, symbols, or images. Sometimes a trademark is made up of two or more of these. You can look at just about any product and see one or more trademarks. A trademark is used to identify a product as being unique to the company that owns it, so therefore trademarks are extremely valuable to their owners. A trademark can be identified with a company to indicate quality, flavor, scent, innovation, or any number of “ideas” that a company wishes to express.
Exclusive rights to a mark are partially established through commercial use, such as:




Entering the mark on state or county records
Applying the mark to signs and promotional materials
Using the mark on letterhead, business cards, and Web sites

Marks can also be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which gives companies more leverage should a dispute arise over a mark. The mark will return a result during trademark searches, discouraging others from trying to claim the mark as their own, and registration puts the burden of proof of originality on any infringer.
A company may hold hundreds of trademarks. Microsoft provides a Web page listing its many trademarked names for games, software, fonts, brands, etc., along with information on how to cite each name. Microsoft also provides a page titled “General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines,” that provides very specific instructions on referencing Microsoft trademarks and logos in any kind of publication.
Some trademarked names become so common in the language that they can become generic. This can be financially harmful to a company because the word or phrase is no longer necessarily associated with its creator. Some common name brands that have become generic include:





Jacuzzi for hot tub
Xerox for copiers
Band‐Aid for adhesive
AstroTurf for artificial grass

Skilled intellectual property attorneys like those at GHS Law Partners are helpful to companies at every stage in the trademark process. In the design phase, our attorneys perform thorough searches for similar phrases or logos, preventing resources from being spent on an idea unlikely to achieve registration. Once design is complete, GHS Law Partners assists in the preparation and filing of the registration application and work with the USPTO to resolve objection and answer questions. After
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GHS LAW PARTNERS

registration is achieved, we monitor usage to assure the mark is kept in commercial use and is not being misused or in danger of becoming generic. *
GHS Law Partners, with our deep knowledge and expertise in business and intellectual property law, understands the goals you want to achieve with your commercial identifiers and their value to your company. We will help you weigh the risks and benefits of various types of marks and enable you to make decisions you can be confident will be good for your business for years to come.

*

If infringements or disputes arise, we handle all details from cease and desist letters (which often end the case) through litigation.

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