It can be a long, costly haul but protection might help

I am frequently asked by my corporate clients whether they should be trademarking their names and/or logos.


This is not the easiest question to answer as it involves a very complex portion of an entire area of law known as intellectual property.


In general terms, a trademarkable item is a string of words, phrases or distinguishing letters strung together to form a distinct term that a business or individual would want to protect from use by other businesses and persons. The most recognizable trademarks are the likes of Coca-ColaTM and Just Do It!TM These should not be confused with a service mark (a relatively new concept) such as the golden arches or the Nike swoop.


So, when business owners ask me if they should be trademarking their phrase or logo, I ask them about the inherent value in the trademark. Many say there is no value now but as their business grows, there could be substantial value and goodwill attached to it.

It becomes a question of timing as to when they should enter this drawn-out process, which requires specialized legal counsel, several months and money: it is not unheard of for an uncontested trademark application to cost several thousand dollars. While some of my clients have completed their own application, I would not recommend this to the busy entrepreneur who might lack an intense attention to detail.

The trademark process is a sophisticated concern, but companies with potential intellectual property may need protection.

The information contained in this article should not be relied upon as legal advice.