Best Practices To Protect Your Trademark

Safe Use of Your Trademark – A Trademark is the words or images attached to an item or service that identify the source of the item or service to the consumer.Federal and international law protect trademarks so that consumers can purchase products with confidence, knowing that the item is exactly what it claims to be. Safe use of your Trademark is vitally important, as the owner of a trademark, you must remain vigilant to prevent any use of your trademark that is “likely to cause consumer confusion;” this includes use by you, and use by others.

The following are a few best practices that will help keep your trademark strong and your rights intact:

What are the benefits of your registered trademarks?

Your new trademark registration an intangible asset that may be included in your company’s financial reports. Registration gives you an exclusive property right to use the mark anywhere in the country in connection with the type of goods and/or services in your application. You may sell the trademark in its entirety with the associated goodwill, charge third parties a license fee to use it for limited purposes, or prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark.

How can you protect your trademark?

As an affirmative right, the burden is on you, the owner, to defend your trademark from infringement. The government will not enforce your rights for you. If you find any unauthorized use of your trademark or are concerned that consumers might confuse you with a competitor because of a similar name, look, or logo, we strongly suggest discussing your options with an attorney. The first step your lawyer makes is usually to send them a letter demanding that they stop, but tactics leading up to litigation may vary depending on the circumstances.

What is a genericide ?

Long term and widespread non-trademark use of a term may kill the original owners trademark registration and all accompanying rights because the trademark transformed into a generic term. Examples of former trademarks killed by genericide include ESCALATOR for a a moving staircase and ASPRIN for a SALICYLATE.  To protect your mark from genericide, 1) never use it as an adjective or verb, 2) always use it as a proper noun, 3) always use the appropriate trademark symbol, and 4) remain vigilant of unauthorized or inaccurate third party use.

How should you use trademark Symbols?

Every time you use your trademark, it is best to use a trademark designation with it. The symbol should immediately follow the registered words or images in superscript. Each symbol has a different meaning, but they all represent a legal claim of ownership over the mark.


Circle R The circle R designation may only be used on trademarks or service marks that have successfully been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. E.g.: McDonalds®.



The TM symbol may be used on any trademark that you claim ownership over, regardless of whether it is registered or not. E.g.: Woodruff TM Interior Paint.


sm-300x240The SM symbol may be used on any service mark that you claim ownership over, regardless of whether it is registered or not. ATM or ® can be used on a service mark instead of a SM if you satisfy the criteria above. E.g.: SymbiotechSM Genetic Testing Center or Totem Counseling®.


Every dollar spent in advertising is an investment into building the value of the brand, a brand that is most easily identified by your trademark. Using your trademark inappropriately or failing to protect it against unlawful use might destroy the value of your mark or allow other people to piggyback on your advertising expenses,These simple strategies will help keep your trademark strong but, unfortunately, it isn’t possible for us cover all risks to your trademark in this short article. You may need a more robust or aggressive approach for your situation. Contact us today to devise your personalized trademark defense strategy a to keep your brand strong.

Ammon Ford | October 28, 2016