Do I Need a Trademark Application


Do you need a trademark? Or do you need a patent?

Patents generally protect a new invention. Information on whether you need a patent is found here.


Trademarks generally protect a new brand - either for a product or a service. People often associate a brand with a new name or new logo.

However, a brand (or trademark) is something more than just a name or logo. A trademark identifies the source of the product or service. It enables consumers to associate a product/service with a company that makes/provides the product/service.

For example, when consumers see a "swoosh" logo on a pair of shoes or on a shirt, they often associate the "swoosh" with Nike.

What Can Be a Trademark

Trademarks can be in many forms. They can be words, logos, shapes, sounds, and colors - as examples.

Consumers are usually familiar with words and logos. But shapes of containers may serve as a trademark, such as the shape of a soft drink bottle. Sounds, like a series of musical notes might identify a television company. A color, like pink, might identify the source of insulation material.

But whatever the form, to be a trademark, it has to serve as a source identifier. It cannot simply be a name or a piece of art.

What Are Not Trademarks

A common example of what is not a trademark is a domain name. It is not a trademark - typically but not always - because it is just a name (e.g., that identifies a place on the internet.

Federal or State Trademarks

Trademark rights can be on a federal level or state level (or both).

If your trademark is being used in multiple states in the US, your trademark can have federal rights. For example, if the product bearing your trademark is sold in different states, you have federal trademark rights. And you can apply for a federal trademark registration.

When you have federal trademark rights, you can also have state trademark rights since your product is being sold in individual states. Therefore, if your product is being sold in two different states, you may be able to obtain state trademark registrations in those two states.

If your trademark is only being used within one state, your trademark can have state rights. For example, if the product bearing your trademark is only sold within a single state, you have state trademark rights, and you can apply for a state trademark registration.

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