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What is a trademark?

The USTPO defines trademark as “a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. Everyday examples of trademarks include the Nike “swoosh” or the Uber logo.

How can I protect my trademark?

In the United States, to protect a trademark, it should be registered through the USPTO. Internationally, it can be filed with each individual country’s trademark office, or through the World Intellectual Property Office’s Madrid System.

What rights does trademark registration provide?

In principle, a registration will give the owner of the registered trademark the exclusive right to the use of the trademark. Which means it can be exclusively used by the registered owner, or it can be licensed to a third party for a period of years in return for a fee. Example: the use of the French Lacoste “alligator” brand was licensed in the United States to Izod for a number of years. Registration gives the owner, clear standing, in terms of commercial rights and for litigation.

How long does a trademark last?

The term of trademark registration can vary, but it’s usually ten years. Provided you pay the fees promptly, it can be renewed indefinitely.

What kinds of trademark can be registered?

A trademark can be one word or a mix of letters words and numbers. Drawings, symbols, the shape or packaging of goods (i.e. the Coca Cola bottle) and other signs, such as sounds or smells (Chanel perfume), and even shades of colors (Ferrari Red)

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