A Beginnerâ€™s Guide to Trademarks
A trademark is a badge or indication of trade form; it can be a word, phrase or logo. For example, McDonalds is a trademark and so is their slogan, “I’m lovin’ it”. The purpose of a trademark is not only to register and ensure the product or brand name has just one undisputed owner, but it also has many other advantages. One example of this is the effect of the recognisable brand name or trademark to the consumer; when the consumer buys a product with a brand name, they form an interpretation of that brand; therefore, the brand name provides an indication of quality to the consumer.
Almost everything can potentially be trademarked; even a footballer’s favourite move can be trademarked, for example David Beckham’s signature free kick and Gareth Bale’s hand-heart after he scores a goal. However, more common things to be trademarked are businesses, brand names and slogans for companies. There are already a large amount of trademarks, and people are trying to trademark common words and phrases now, some even have attempted to trademark smells and names; there was a French company who tried to trademark the smell of fresh strawberries.
If you would like to trademark something, for example, a cake shop called “A Cake Cornucopia”; you must first decide which class a cake shop falls into. There are 45 classes which trademarks are divided into, 34 for goods and 11 for services. For a cake shop you would want Class 43, for Services providing food or drink. A trademark may be registered under multiple classes; however, this would cost more money. The next step would be to carry out a search for the words together, specifying the class. The results from that search should let you know whether the name is free or not. These steps can be carried out by a solicitor, using special databases to determine its availability. If the trademark is free, then you may apply to have it registered meaning it is free for the owner to use at their own will.
By Shiona Marsh
Year 10 pupil at The Gregg School, Southampton