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A trademark can be anything that identifies one brand from its  competition. Of course, words and images are the most common types of trademarks, but sounds, smells, textures and other unique marketing tools can be trademarks too. For example:

  • Sound:
    • The “sound of an oscillating humming buzz created by combining feedback from a microphone with a projector motor sound” is registered for toy swords. Yes, that is the sound of a Lightsaber(R)
  • Smell:
    • A “peppermint scent or fragrance” is registered for office supplies.
    • A “cherry scent” is registered for synthetic lubricants for high performance racing and recreational vehicles.
  • Packaging: Many packaging shapes are registered.
    • One of the the most well known trademarks around the world is the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle.
    • For more examples of product packaging shapes that are registered, see this earlier blog post.
  • Other:
    • Even “goats on a roof of grass” for promotion of restaurant services are protectable and registered with the USPTO! Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured a front page article about the success of the goats on the roof.
    • Peabody Hotels owns a registered trademark for “the live visual and motion elements of the The Peabody Duck March… The motion elements include the red carpet being rolled out, the appearance of the ducks and uniformed Duckmaster at the elevator door, and the march of the ducks down the red carpet, up the steps, and into the fountain where they begin swimming.”
    • If you know of any other unusual trademarks, please send me an email or post in the comments!

What makes your brand unique? Words, logos, slogans, packages, and more can function as valuable trademarks. They are key for differentiating a business from its competition and significant assets to businesses.

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