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More Than a Business Name: The Basics of Trademarks

As the world has progressed through the decades, more and more people have started innovating and creating ways to improve their livelihoods. With the help of modern technology, plenty of these innovations have been successful. And there is one tried-and-tested method that has been drawing the attention of people for the longest time. That is, establishing one’s own business.

Aspiring entrepreneurs should have an inkling on what it is they are entering when taking this endeavor. They should be well informed on the processes and the stakes that come with this venture. Additionally, they should know the nuances on the littlest of things, like the difference between registering a business name and applying for trademarks in Salt Lake City or elsewhere.

Business name registration vs. trademark application

Registering a business name is part of the application process one signs up for with the state to become a corporation. During this process, entrepreneurs find out if the name they have chosen is the same or similar to a pre-existing business in the state. State registry allows protection within the state, as the name implies, but does not do so in other states.

Applying for trademarks, on the other hand, goes beyond securing the name of the business. While both representing the business, trademarks are words, slogans, designs, or logos that identify and differentiate products or services belonging to one company. For a trademark to be approved, it has to be unique and distinctive from other existing trademarks, and all requirements must be submitted within the provided deadline.

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Furthermore, there are different types of trademarks business owners should take note. They all vary depending on the elements businesses want to incorporate in their marks.

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Arbitrary and Fanciful Marks

At the top of the trademark chain are arbitrary and fanciful marks. Generally, marks that have nothing to do with the service or product offered by the company are viewed to be the strongest in the market. While similar in their efficacy, arbitrary marks are existing words used out of context, like Apple for technology. Fanciful marks, on the other hand, are created terms specifically coined by companies for their products or services, like Samsung.

Suggestive Marks

Just a rank below arbitrary and fanciful marks are suggestive marks. These are enforced in such a way that they stimulate the public’s imagination. Typically, they are assigned to a key characteristic of the product or service. A great example is Jaguar, which highlights the automobile brand’s speed. While suggestive marks are less distinctive, it is still possible for them to be approved.

Descriptive Marks

Considered to be the least effective, descriptive marks are least likely to be approved. This is due to the fact that they are considered weak and difficult to enforce. Moreover, they are extremely limiting and may affect the competition in the market. Examples of descriptive marks are Cold and Creamy for ice cream, which describes a characteristic; and Candied Apples, which is generic and is a type of product that can be offered by most companies selling sweets.

Deciding on a strong mark may be difficult at first considering how saturated most markets can be. But, success on picking something that is unique and distinctive will allow businesses to prosper further since their mark will make them stand out from their competition.

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