Friday, March 2, 2007

Trademarks/Service Marks - why they are important

When you are at the grocery or watching a movie how do you know the difference between Coke and Pepsi? The bottle's color? The styling of the name on the bottle? I was watching an old (1979-80) English television show called The Sandbaggers where one of the characters only drinks Coca-Cola and I caught sight of an old 8 ounce Coke bottle. At 47, I recognized instantly what it was.

All this things make up a trademark. They identify goods. Service marks are for services. Smaller businesses all too often ignore the importance of their marks. People identify businesses with their marks. Just as I identified that ancient bottle with Coca-Cola.

I do not want to into detail about the procedure for how to trademark with this post. However, do let me note that there must be a logo that is used in the business before thinking of a trade or service mark. For example, I have a business client with a rather interesting logo that they use on their vehicles. Secondly, registration with the federal Patent and Trademark Office gives the user nationwide protection while local use can create create a localized protection. With the client I just mentioned, they will not move forward on registering its mark but the area of its use is one county in Indiana.

With all that in mind, I want to point out The Counterfeit Chic Blog. This blog focuses on the importance of trademarks as they are used in business - particularly, the fashion business. Not the sort of business that flourishes in Central Indiana but the writing is quite good and the blog does show how trademarks can effect any business.