San Bernardino Trademark Lawyer
San Bernardino Trademark Attorney
In any part of the business realm, having an instantly recognizable logo or branding style that ties your business to your services is a crucial asset for creating a successful clientele base. Just as the red bullseye is synonymous with Target stores and Nike’s white swoosh, creating a trademarked logo or moniker for your company helps not only give you instant brand recognition. It helps bolster your sales by creating a sense of brand loyalty in your customers.
The process for trademarking your business logo or intellectual property rights may seem difficult, but with the help of an expert legal team well-versed in trademark registration, solidifying your rights to your business’ branding is possible. In the San Bernardino area, no other firm compares to the Kinder Law Group’s trademark law expertise, helping you secure a strong, recognizable branding foundation for your company.
What Is Intellectual Property?
When it comes to businesses, inventions, or any kind of creative process, intellectual property is the manifestation of different ideas that are tied to these institutions. Intellectual property is legally protected under four different labels, including patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks. Depending on the type of intellectual property in question, the kinds of protections used to safeguard the rights to those items change as well.
For example, when it comes to different works of art, whether physical, digital, or auditory media, the intellectual property safeguard to protect these works is through copyrighting these pieces. On the other hand, in instances regarding inventions or the creation of new technology, patent protection creates a safeguard for the rights of these creations.
Trademarks, then, are used as a means of distinguishing products in a certain industry as coming from a specific supplier. This process, which involves securing the rights to different icons, logos, or phrases, is all in an effort to create a direct link between the product and the manufacturer. Trademark applications are a great way to distinguish your business from competitors. They can help protect your personal ideas from being misappropriated or taken for use by another individual or business.
Building a business is hard enough, but when it comes to supporting that business through different ad campaigns, commercials, or just general operations within your establishment, making sure you can keep your business uniquely yours is a large part of the journey.
What Is a Trademark?
Simply put, a trademark is a particular logo, slogan, name, or other piece of iconography that represents you or your business, used to specifically represent your unique brand. Whether it be the use of a mascot, name, or catchphrase, these particular icons can be trademarked as a part of your business’ brand recognition, giving you a symbol or phrase that allows customers to directly identify your business. Then, when customers see your logo or slogan, they can be directed to your brand through brand association. By applying this trademark, you can be sure that these particular pieces of iconography are directly used in relation to your particular brand, gaining you profits and bringing in a larger clientele base for your business.
From a legal standpoint, trademarks help create a safety net that allows you to protect these symbols as part of your business. For example, one of the most recognizable brand logos in advertising is McDonald’s Golden Arches, immediately letting customers know that the establishment or product featuring these Golden Arches will be McDonald’s. Because of this instant brand recognition, McDonald’s has trademarked their Golden Arches, allowing them to have full rights over its use as a brand logo. If another restaurant were to use these same Golden Arches or a similarly styled logo for their branding, McDonald’s could sue this establishment for trademark infringement, basing their case around the attempted use of McDonald’s branded iconography as part of their personal branding.
Are Trademarks and Copyrights the Same Thing?
When it comes to the differences between trademarks and copyrights, the implications of both are similar; however, they carry different legal weights. Copyrights are protections that can be awarded to original property, usually used for names or other personally recognizable pieces of intellectual property. Typically awarded automatically, copyrights are tied to the production of original works once published. However, after a set period of time, the copyright protections granted to these pieces of intellectual property expire unless renewed before their originally set expiration date.
Trademarks, on the other hand, are granted to different logos or slogans that distinguish businesses from each other, providing a unique tie to your particular company through the use of this specific iconography. Unlike copyright, trademarks need to be legally applied for and filed to be enacted. However, trademarking different pieces of intellectual property lasts longer than a copyright, as long as the trademarked symbol or item is in continuous use, and new trademarks do not need to be filed for the same logo or iconography.
Types of Trademarks
In California, different pieces of intellectual property are able to be trademarked and protected by law, allowing you to create legally-secured branding for your business. Whether it be mascots, catchphrases, logos, or even personal names, applying for a trademark can help protect your business from being overshadowed or diminished by your competition. Additionally, adding a trademark can help begin the process of establishing your brand name, overall sparking a wave of brand loyalty that’s tied to your specific business. The different kinds of trademarks protected by California law include:
- Traditional Trademarks. Traditional trademarks consist of any branding, logos, icons, mascots, etc. that are directly tied to your business’ personal branding. These symbols are used as a way to directly relate your products to your business, helping forge a connection between who you are and what you produce. For example, a trademarked fisherman logo for a company that produces canned tuna can solidify the link between the product, the tuna, and the business, allowing buyers to make the subconscious link between the products they purchase and the business supplying the products.
- Service Marks. Similar to traditional trademarks, service marks are specific types of intellectual property that are tied to your business, typically used for protecting the specific services provided by a business. Unlike trademarks, the purpose of a service mark is to signify a particular service and not a product. In some cases, getting a service mark for businesses serving a more niche market, for example, a company specifically geared towards antique upholstery restoration, can help reinforce the specific clientele and market that benefits from said services.
- Trade Names. Trade names are a particular set of trademarks awarded to specific names and can be associated with a trademarked business due to the use of this name. For certain industries, creating a trade name is part of conducting business, so getting said name trademarked as unique to your brand is essential for protecting your business. In the state of California, registering your trade name as part of your business operations is imperative to conducting business.
Regardless of what items are being trademarked, creating a solid legal backing for your business can help protect your company’s branding from use by other businesses. From logos to services, trademarks are imperative for helping set your business apart from others, and they can help you protect your personal brand identity.
How Does Something Get Trademarked?
The legal process for trademarking in the state of California is simple. However, as with any legal process, having a firm standing and comprehensive knowledge of the requirements for the application is important before filing any paperwork. The first step towards accurately filing for a trademark is finding a legal team able to support and guide you through the process, ensuring that every part of your application is air-tight before submitting anything to the state. This includes gathering any and all information regarding your company and business ownership, along with an application fee and a formal declaration of accuracy.
After gathering the necessary information, crafting and completing your trademark application is the next biggest part of the process, allowing you to create the necessary legal safeguards for your business. Once filed, the state will determine whether or not your application is valid. However, with a firm as trustworthy as The Kinder Law Group, you can have faith in the accuracy of your trademark application.
Who Is Able to Trademark Something?
Depending on your business, as well as what iconography, services, or name you are deciding to trademark, the kinds of applicants available may vary from case to case. For example, a religious group, such as a Christian Bible study camp, may look into trademarking traditional Christian symbols like the cross or Bible as part of their logo. However, because of the wide use and reception of these symbols outside of the realm of the camp, an application trying to trademark these universal icons may be denied. Similarly, if someone were to apply for a trademark on the last name “Smith,” the prevalence of this name may lead the State to deny a trademark application due to how many other individuals have the same last name.
Being specific and direct about the reasons for the trademark, as well as its specific ties to your branding, is crucial for the application process. On one hand, trademarking a business within a niche market is not only crucial for supporting your business, but it can also help you assert yourself as a leader in that market. For any larger businesses or any fields with a higher number of businesses in them, trademarking certain iconography or logos is more influential than the services themselves, basing the claims around brand identity as opposed to services offered.
What Is Trademark Infringement?
As an expected outcome of establishing a trademark, the unauthorized use of your trademarked images or iconography is inevitable. In these instances, trademark infringement cases can be filed as a way to combat these unauthorized uses, helping put a stop to the misappropriation of your brand name and imaging. Depending on the use of these images and icons, trademark infringement can be damaging for your business, costing you your customers, profits, and reputation, so being able to diagnose these infringements and combat them is crucial to protecting your company’s name and reputation.
Trademark infringement is not exclusive to physical replications or violations, and in some instances, these trademarked icons or symbols may be misappropriated from different unauthorized web sources. If you designate that your branding may be displayed on certain websites as a form of advertising, such as a brand partnership, these can be legally determined lawful uses of your trademark. However, if this trademark were to be used on a different section of the website unaffiliated with that brand partnership, this may be grounds for trademark infringement.
Do You Need a California Trademark Lawyer to File an Application?
In California, a lawyer is not legally required when filing for a trademark application. However, in cases as delicate and nuanced as trademark filings, having a legal team throughout the process is key to properly filing your application. When given the option to have a legal team who are experts in their field as support during a process like trademark filing, you can be sure that your application can be pristine and ready for delivery with little to no pushback.
Contact Experienced San Bernardino Trademark Lawyers
When it comes to trademarks, making sure that your applications are valid, complete, and reliable is the most important part of your application. One of the best ways to ensure this is by recruiting an expert team of trademark attorneys. Between compiling evidence in support of your claim to backing you throughout the application process, finding the right team of lawyers to help deliver your trademark application is the key to success.
At The Kinder Law Group, our expert team of California-based trademark lawyers is here to support your trademark filing from start to finish. For more information or to get in touch with our team, visit our website and contact us today. We can protect your trademark application process at each stage.