Making a Mark for Your Home-Based Business South Haven MI
Grand Rapids, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
Making a Mark for Your Home-Based Business
By Carol Desmond
What is a trademark? A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services produced or provided by one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
Any distinctive words, letters, numerals, drawings, pictures, shapes, colors, logotypes, labels, or combinations used to distinguish goods or services may be considered a trademark. In some countries, advertising slogans are also considered trademarks and may be registered as such at national trademark offices.
Examples of trademarks most relevant to home-based business owners include: 1. Trademarks: Microsoft; Fruit Loops; Ford (these are products or goods); 2. Service marks: Blockbuster; McDonalds; Kinkos (these are services); 3. Logotypes: CBS eye in a circle; Apple Computer's Apple; Nike Swoosh; and 4. Slogans: Microsoft's "Where Do You Want to Go Today?"
What Are Trademarks For?
The main function of a trademark is to enable consumers to identify a product [whether goods or services] of a particular company so as to distinguish it from other identical or similar products provided by competitors. Consumers who are satisfied with a given product are likely to buy or use the product again in the future. For this, they need to be able to distinguish easily between identical or similar products.
By enabling companies to differentiate themselves and their products from those of the competition, trademarks play a powerful role in the branding and marketing strategies of companies. The image and reputation of a company create trust, which is the basis for establishing a loyal clientele and enhancing a company's goodwill. Consumers often develop an emotional attachment to certain trademarks based on a set of desired qualities or features embodied in the products bearing such marks.
Why Should Your Company Protect Trademarks and Service Marks?
Registration, under the relevant U.S. trademark law, gives your company the exclusive right to prevent others from marketing identical or similar products/services under the same or a confusingly similar mark. Without trademark registration, your investments in marketing a product or service may become wasted if rival companies used the same or a confusingly similar trademark for identical or similar products/services. If a competitor adopts a similar or identical trademark, customers could be misled into buying the competitor's product/service thinking it is your company's. This could not only decrease company's profits and confuse customers, but may also damage the reputation and image of your company, particularly if the rival product/service is of inferior quality.
In addition, a registered trademark may be licensed to other companies, thus providing an additional source of revenue for your company, or may be the basis for a franchising agreement. On occasion, a registered trademark with a good reputation among consumers may also be used to obtain funding from financing institutions that a...