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Seven quick tips for protecting your brand

Posted by ipelton on: November 21st, 2014

One of the first blog posts I wrote was on this subject. It is basic and brief – but very important!

  1. Choose Wisely – The more creative your brand name is, the greater the odds that it is unique.  More distinctive and create name or slogan is generally more capable of standing out among the competition and becoming a brand with real value. Which sounds like a more exciting brand, a more valuable brand: “Jim’s Gym” or “Vantage Fitness“? “Cincinnati Frozen Yogurt” or “fraîche”? “Joe’s Pizza” or “Pie-tanza” “Search.com” or “Google”?
  2. Use it – The more prominently you use your trademarks – brand names, logos and slogans – the stronger and more distinctive they become and the more your likely customers are to remember your brand and to use it to tell others about it.
  3. Distinguish It – Use ALL CAPS, bold or italics to emphasize your brand as often as you can.  Then the customer knows exactly what your brand is.
  4. Register it – Registration provide enhanced legal and practical protection and increases the dollar value of your trademark assets.
  5. Create Google Alerts – An easy and free way to monitor for others copying your brand or commenting on it.  If you find a possible infringement, contact an attorney. www.google.com/alerts
  6. Enforce it – When your trademark is violated, take action quickly. If you don’t care enough about your brand to fight for it, why should the customers care? Taking quick action generally leads to quicker, better, cheaper resolution of the problem.
  7. Think outside the trademark box – Are there sounds, shapes, colors, patterns, uniforms, or other ‘nontraditional’ trademarks being used to help make your brand stand apart?  If so, highlight and protect them.

© 2014 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.

Interesting play-on-word trademarks: _____ Happens

Posted by ipelton on: October 5th, 2013

Here are some great variations on the phrase”Sh__ Happens” filed as trademarks with the USPTO:

[click mark for USPTO records]

  • STITT HAPPENS – pending application for clothing filed by Robert Stitt. According to Wikipedia, “Robert “Bob” Allen Stitt is the head football coach for the Colorado School of Mines. He is nationally known as the innovator of the Fly-Sweep play and his unique offensive mind.”
  • IT HAPPENS – pending application for “Plastic and paper bags for disposing of pet waste”
  • SIT HAPPENS – pending application for “wheelchair cushions, wheelchair pads, headrests for use with wheelchairs, amputee support devices for use with wheelchairs, lap trays for use with wheelchairs, backrests for use with wheelchairs, lateral supports for use with wheelchairs, hardware for use in attaching accessories to wheelchairs”
  • lit-happens – registered for “Legal consulting services in the field of litigations and legal trials”
  • SHIFT HAPPENS – registered for “Dental services, namely, orthodontic services”
  • split happens – registered for “Shampoos, conditioners, non-medicated hair serums, hair care preparations, styling gels, hair styling mousses and hair styling preparations”
  • FIT HAPPENS – registered for ‘Providing recreational facilities and health club facilities, namely weight and aerobic training, cardiovascular fitness training, yoga and martial arts training”
  • SPIT HAPPENS - registered for “baby bibs”

Tip: Using puns and plays on words are great ways to create catchy, memorable brands!

 

How a great slogan works: “Your Nine Inning Vacation”

Posted by ipelton on: October 1st, 2013

Over the summer, I found this terrific slogan at a minor league baseball game:

"Your Nine Inning Vacation"

“Your Nine Inning Vacation”

Why it works:

  • It is short and simple.
  • It creates a visual in my mind: sitting at a baseball game and enjoying it.
  • In a few short words, it communicates a message: come here for a ball game it is like a miniature vacation — away from work and all the other stresses in your life.
  • It is connected to primary services offered: minor league baseball.

The only drawback is that the Portland Sea Dogs have not filed to register the slogan yet!

Great pun trademarks

Posted by ipelton on: April 24th, 2013

Puns make great playful suggestive trademarks.

A recent piece on MSN Now features photos of some great such names. For example:

– MERCHANT OF TENNIS

– BACK TO THE FUTON

– BREWED AWAKENING (coffee shop)

– CURL UP A DYE (hair salon)

– PLANET OF THE GRAPES (wine shop)  

– SPEX IN THE CITY (glasses?)

– TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD

– WOK THIS WAY

– THE LEANING TOWER OF PIZZA

And how about the Vietnamse noodle shop, PHO SHO! In fact there are a lot of great PHO puns, including 9021PHO:

90210PHO photo from https://www.facebook.com/9021PHO

 

 

 

Want to protect a trademark in the Trademark Clearinghouse for the new gTLDs? I have found a new tool that may help brand owners.

First, the Trademark Clearinghouse allows owners of registered trademarks to get protections in the new global Top-Level Domains (gTLDs).  The protection would be in the form of the opportunity to register the domain name first during the “sunrise period” and it would provide notice if someone attempts to register a second-level domain in one of the new gTLDs, along with the opportunity to purchase the domain.

In order to use the Trademark Clearinghouse, brand owners must have a registered trademark.  In the US, trademark registration generally takes a minimum of 7 months.

But a petition to make special can expedite the USPTO process and likely save at least two months in the application timeline. And I just learned last week that the desire to use the Trademark Clearinghouse is a sufficient basis for a petition to make special.

You see, I filed to register ERIK PELTON with the USPTO on March 18, 2013. Since my primary domain name is www.erikpelton.com, it would be valuable to block anyone trying to register ERIK PELTON as a second level domain, such as erikpelton.email or erikpelton.lawyer or erikpelton.trademark. [I realize that I would very likely have other recourse against anyone using one of these second-level domain names, but such options would be much more expensive than the Trademark Clearinghouse.]

On March 21st, I filed a Petition to Make Special citing the Trademark Clearinghouse as the basis:

Special action is requested so that applicant may use the resulting registration of the mark to apply with the Tradmark Clearinghouse in order to guard against others from using the mark in registration of second-level domains in the new gTLDs (top-level domains) such as erikpelton.email, erikpelton.law, erikpelton.attorney, and more. The Trademark Clearinghouse, an “enhanced rights protection” mechanism built into the new gTLD program, is only available for registered trademarks. As the Trademark Clearinghouse is commencing this month and as the new gTLDs are set to be released by ICANN in the near future, the requested petition to mke special for expedited action is necessary and justified.

For more information regarding the Trademark Clearinghouse and the new gTLDs, see attached materials and the following websites:

http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about/trademark-clearinghouse

http://trademark-clearinghouse.com/

On April 11th, the Petition was granted.

Brand owners who want to use the Trademark Clearinghouse, but do hot have a trademark registration, make still be able to use it by filing to register the trademark with the USPTO, followed by a Petition to Make Special.

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