By merely using a trademark in commerce, the user obtains trademark rights. The trademark owner can gain additional trademark rights by obtaining a federal trademark registration.
The phrase “trademarking a name” is not correct grammar-wise and many pretentious lawyers cringe when hearing the phrase. It is not a big deal to us at Granite Trademark Services when clients use the phrase because a) we know what our client means when they use trademark as a verb, and b) we are not grammar NAZIs.
For people looking to “trademark a name,” the first thing to know is that simply using a name to sell goods or services obtains common law trademark rights automatically. Business owners do not need to apply with any state or federal agency to obtain common law trademark rights and can assert their common law trademark rights against competitors who use confusingly similar trademarks to their own.
However, common law trademark rights a fairly limited. For example, the common law trademark rights only exist in the region where the trademark is used and it is relatively difficult to enforce common law trademark rights in court. So when people slangingly say they “need to trademark” their business name, they usually mean applying for and obtaining a federal trademark registration.
Technically, "trademark" cannot be used as a verb. The wise business man Willy Wonka understood this and smugly told people.
“Trademarking” a Name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
The way to obtain the broadest trademark protection is for business owners to “trademark” their name or brand with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark owners do not literally “trademark” their name with the USPTO, they actually apply for and receive a federal trademark registration. Trademark owners technically already own and have common law trademark rights by merely using the trademark in commerce.
Grammar issues aside, obtaining a federal trademark registration with the USPTO is important for companies most important brands and consumer facing materials. Companies may seek to register their company name, top brands, top selling products and more. For example, Nike has trademark registrations for their company name, NIKE, their famous tagline JUST DO IT, their well-known JORDAN brand and many popular product lines such as their AIR FORCE I sneaker products. In other words, successful companies obtain trademark registrations for their most profitable, long lasting, and successful trademarks.
The reason why companies go through the time, effort and pay for obtaining USPTO trademark registrations is because federally registered trademarks enjoy many added benefits in addition to traditional common law trademark rights. For example, registered trademarks can use the ® symbol, enjoy nationwide protection, are easier to enforce in court, put all competitors on notice not to use a similar trademark, makes licensing trademarks or franchising brands easier, getting access to the Amazon Brand Registry and more.
Do you want to “trademark” your name? Contact us today for a Free Trademark Consultation and one of our experienced trademark attorneys will contact you within twenty four hours.