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—”lawyer.com” 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.