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The Proper Use Of Trademarks

Written By Sherry Ryan
BHA Production Manager

Pepsi®, Porsche®, and Lexus®. When you see these names you have immediate brand recognition. But what sets these words apart from escalator, linoleum, kerosene and dry ice is the trademark that these other words do not have. Words that were once trademarked have become generic because the companies who owned them did not protect their brand identity with trademarks. You can protect your brand identities and trademarks by following some simple rules.

Trademark Origin and History
Branding originally protected personal property from theft and loss. Cave paintings in southwestern Europe from the Stone Age and Early Bronze Age depict branded cattle. Quarry marks and stonecutter's signs dating back almost 4,000 years have been found. Branding, which continues today, has always been an important tool for designating ownership.

  • Stetson® - hats and caps - 1866
  • Pillsbury® - flour - 1873
  • Ladies' Home Journal® - monthly magazine - 1883
  • Schlitz® - beer - 1894
  • Pepsi-Cola® - beverage - 1896
  • Morton Salt, "When it rains it pours"® and the Morton Umbrella Girl -1914

Trademark Definition
A trademark is a word, symbol, design, combination of letters or numbers or other device, which identifies and distinguishes your products and services in the marketplace. Once developed trademarks will help your customers identify your firm or products. The ™ symbol is used while awaiting approval from the U.S. Patent Office while the ® symbol is used once approved.

Visit www.uspto.gov for additional information on applying for and registering trademarks. Upon visiting this site you can search the database for approved trademark, learn how to apply for a trademark and even check the status of your application.



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