What Are Trade Marks?

A trade mark could be a letter, logo, picture, phrase or word (and more) that are associated with one company only and that other companies and people are not allowed to use. For example, the names ‘KFC’ or ‘Coca-Cola’ are trade mark names and cannot be used by any other company. Anyone wanting to establish a trade mark will have to do a thorough trade mark search first to make sure that a certain name has not already been registered. A trade mark differentiate different providers’ products from each other.

Advantages Of A Trade Mark

Having a trade mark can be extremely beneficial to your business. People will associate your trade mark name with good service (if you have established good rapport), wherever they go. For example, a person would probably feel safer buying fried chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken, than buying it from, for example, ‘Hennie’s Fried Chicken’. People will know what to expect from a well-known brand.

Tricky Trade Marks

Certain words and phrases are quite difficult to register. Something containing words such as radio, refrigerator, watches, furniture could be difficult to get trade marked, as these are terms that many businesses might want to use. There is certainly someone selling furniture or radios in every town!

Surnames and geographic locations are also understandably difficult to register as trade marks. There could be more than one Van Der Merwe or Louw in one town, and of course in the whole country. Using a surname as trade mark is possible, however, when a person has been trading under the specific name for a very long time.

Deciding On A Trade Mark

When the time comes for you to decide on a trade mark, you should give it much thought. This is a name that will be used for very long and once you have chosen it, it won’t be easy to change.

Get a group of creative thinking people to brainstorm ideas for phrases and graphics. It needs to be something catchy and simple, preferably easy to pronounce and not too long to say.

You also need to do thorough research on existing trade names. You don’t want to get a name that is very similar to someone else’s, or choose a name that has already been trade marked, as this could lead to legal action against you! Having a look at trade mark names while doing research can also give you an idea of what works and what not.

Once your business name is a trade mark, remember to do your best to only provide quality services and products, as the reputation of one branch is now linked to all others!