Protecting Company Good Will

For information on the basics of the trademark process (Click Here)

If you have worked to establish your company or product through a name, phrase, logo, or graphic, you have been developing your companies “good will.” Good will is the monetary value attached to a business which represents intangibles, such as reputation and the development of return business. Good will, like other company property, is a salable asset of a business. As such, if you don’t protect it, you are more likely to loose it. Protection of a business good will is accomplished through the registration of your “mark.” This registration, and the enforcement thereof, will help to prevent others from capitalizing on, or worse, damaging your reputation through the unauthorized use of your “mark.”

Trademarks are available under both state and federal law, and are available for a variety of distinctive product or service-related identifiers including, product name, logo, design, phrase, packaging … in some instances, companies have even been able to trademark colors, sounds, and smells!

Trademark rights in the United States stem from usage, not from registration. As such, the marks, when actually used, are protected by Common Law. Nonetheless, there are many good reasons to register your mark with either your state or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Whether you choose to register with your state of the USPTO depends on numerous factors, and there are pros and cons for each type of registration. To qualify for Federal registration, a trademark must either be inherently distinctive (for example, made-up words like Kodak® or Lexus®), or have acquired secondary meaning (for example, McDonalds®). You may obtain a trademark on a mark that is actually in use, or one that you intend to use. However, the law requires that actual use be made within a specified time interval after the filing date of the application. Once a trademark has been registered, it may be kept alive forever, provided it is actually used and all renewals are properly and timely filed (renewals must be made every ten years, but there is a special filing during the sixth year after issuance that must be made or else the trademark will be cancelled automatically).

Once registered, affirmative steps need to be taken to ensure that your registered mark does not become a common or generic term to describe all products within a certain industry. The terms Rollerblade, Thermos, Kleenex, Xerox, are all registered trademarks, but all have been in danger of falling into the public domain and being transformed into the generic names for their respective products. “Aspirin", “frig", and yes, the Paparella Ventilation Tube (tympanostomy tube), are prior trademarks that have fallen into the public domain and no longer may be protected for exclusive use by their respective creators.

The law firm of Paparella & Associates has extensive experience prosecuting trademark registrations. We know how trademarks are reviewed, and can therefore counsel our clients on selecting marks that will likely obtain Federal protection.

Contact the law firm of Paparella & Associates for vigorous protection for your trademark.

For further information on Copyrights, or for filing for your own Copyright registration, Visit the United States (US) Copyright Office by clicking HERE

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