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10 Trademark Rules
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10 Trademark Rules

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This is my attempt to get trademark usage down to 10 rules - that fit on one page. All comments welcome.

This is my attempt to get trademark usage down to 10 rules - that fit on one page. All comments welcome.


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  • 1. 10 rules for trademarks…. 1. Use the ® only for trademarks registered with the U.S. Trademark Office (or foreign trademark authorities) – a federal registration gives you presumptive national rights. 2. Use the ™ for any brand or mark that is unregistered. 3. You do not need to use a trademark symbol with every use of the term in print. However, it is highly recommended to use at least once prominently on public materials/packaging/websites or any time when used as a product brand (think the COCA-COLA label). 4. There is no legal obligation to use either trademark symbol – but they put the world on notice of trademark rights (and non-use of ® can bar federal trademark damage claims). 5. A mark is typically presented as follows when used as a brand - COCA- COLA® (for ex., on packaging or in prominent form on website). Non- brand references, such as to related company names, can be as follows: The Coca-Cola Company. 6. A trademark is an adjective – a descriptor – not a noun or verb (though consumers disregard). Say: SNICKERS® brand candy bar is one of our best sellers. Not: SNICKERS are our best seller. 7. Trademarks are property through actual use with goods and services. They’re not like domain names that you register and stockpile. Generally speaking, no use = no trademark rights. 8. Trademark rights can last perpetually if used perpetually (assuming proper use) – unlike patents and copyrights. 9. Trademark rights (like patents and copyright) are specific to regions or countries in which they are used. A trademark in the U.S. may not be a valid trademark in another country until you use and/or register it there. 10. Keep control of your trademarks. Use them properly and only let others use them with your permission (e.g., by license). ERNEST W. GRUMBLES http://unhub.com/ernestgrumbles