CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRADEMARK
As anyone who has had a hand in creating a trademark knows, you must have a clear understanding of what you want your trademark to do. Time spent at the outset in analyzing your business, your product, and your market will pay off later on.
Is your product a consumer item sold to a broad segment of public for everyday use, or is it a highly specialized item sold to a narrow market? A mark appropriate for one might not be for the other. And how will the mark reach your market? The amateur chef preparing an elegant meal with a Cuisinart food processor most likely does not know the brand of the electric motor which supplies the power; and, the motor manufacturer probably doesn’t care. However, if you are a zipper manufacturer, you will undoubtedly want woman to remember your mark and, for example, to insist that dresses they buy have your Talon fasteners.
The marketing factors controlling the choice of a new trademark are numerous. What kind of mark will most appeal to your type of customer? Do you want it to convey glamour and status or the more basic values?
Will it adapt to the type of media you plan to use to promote it? Can it be used in international markets, be applied to more than one product or service, or form a basis for a family of trademarks having the same component?
But, the marketing factors cannot be considered in isolation. The adoption, use, and protection of trademarks bring into play a number of legal factors as well. Will the mark infringe another company’s trademark and be subject to an injunction? Can it be registered at the Trade Mark Registry in the country where protection is required? Can competitors be stopped from using it?
These are only a few of the questions you should ask. In selecting a trademark that may someday be worth millions, there is no substitute for careful planning.
WHAT CAN BE A TRADEMARK?
Since words convey meaning so readily, at least in a society with a high literacy rate, they are the most common and favoured form of trademark. They can be communicated in almost any way, from label or name plate to television commercial, and they can be remembered easily: Burberry, Beereater, Motorola, Jaguar. Names or parts of names can also be trademarks: Calvin Klein, Halston, Wrigley’s, Hilton, McDonald’s.
But other kinds of symbols can convey meaning and associations as well: pictures, logos, characters, labels, designs, colour combinations, slogans, sounds, numerals, letters, clothing tabs, acronyms, unique shapes of products and packages; and even certain components or signs. Indeed, there is hardly any limit to what type of symbols can be trademark, provided that it functions as a trademark.