Monday, January 15, 2007

Making Your Mark

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute".

When we start or manage our own business- making our mark in the community is important. One of the ways to do this effectively is by owning a trademark of our own. Trademarks and service marks are names, words and symbols used by vendors of goods or services to identify and distinguish their goods or services from those offered by others. Trademarks are used on goods and service marks are used for services. McDonalds is a well-recognized trademark as is the Nike swoosh. Symbols, characters and unique product shapes can be trademarks as well. Tony the Tiger who appears on frosted flakes is an example of a trademarked character used to represent a product. A trademark can also aid in domain name ownership. All states protect unregistered trademarks under non-statutory common law. However, protection of trademarks used in commerce is available under the Federal Trademark statute known as the Lanham Act. Federally registered trademarks are best but the law is complex so seek the help of an attorney to assist.