Trademark: What Can Be Registered

Sarah Haas


Wondering whether you're using a trademark that could be protected by a federal registration? Below are the categories of marks recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as a list of some to avoid, plus examples.

Yes, go for it:

• Word—Twitter® (brand name) and Big Mac® (product name)
• Design—logos including the NBC peacock logo, Starbucks logo, or Olympic rings
• Slogan—Just Do It®
• Sound—Looney Tunes Theme Song
• Scent—Play-Doh (“a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough”)
• Color—UPS brown

Nope, not going to work:

• Generic word or phrase—"" for an online legal directory
• Descriptive word or phrase—"Cold & Creamy" used on ice cream
• Word or phrase that incorporates another's registered trademark—"Facebook Ad Expert"

Need more trademark information? Download our free trademark guide.

Sarah K. Haas

Sarah Associate Attorney

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