Trademark law is always evolving around the world, but here are some trademark basics:
- A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. Trademark laws may also protect a 3D-object used in connection with service businesses or products.
- In 1996, the US Congress expanded federal trademark law so that it now covers some uses of trademarks that do not create consumer confusion.
- Trademarks are a bundle of rights recognized under the common law and under Federal and State trademark laws.
- Trademark rights are not rights in gross:
A trademark right is not a right in gross; it exists only as appurtenant to an established business and for the protection of the goodwill thereof.
United Drug Co. v. Theodore Rectanus Co., 248 U.S. 90 (1918), 248 U. S. 97.
- Registered trademark rights are obtained on a country by country basis, while common law trademark rights are local to the user’s trading area, on a city or metro basis.
- If you don’t register your trademark, you may not be able to enforce it without extensive and expensive litigation. And then there is always the Dawn Donut Rule that limits expansion if a person is using an unregistered trademark.
- Not all trademarks are created equal. Weak marks may get a very limited scope of protection while coined trademarks may get a greater scope of protection.
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