So here's the deal. Trademarks are ultra-important. They can help you distinguish your products in the marketplace. They can help generate millions of dollars worth of licensing revenue every year (if your trademark begins with the letters NHL, NFL, NBA, etc. it helps in this regard, but it isn't strictly necessary). They can be asserted against competitors using symbols that are identical or similar in appearance. Trademarks can be words. They can be logos/symbols. They can even be ornamental designs, colors, sounds, and even scents. But one thing a trademark cannot most assuredly be is generic. Why not? Well, a trademark is an exclusive right to use a word or symbol in connection with a specific good or service, where the trademark is shown to have source-identifying capabilities. Generic words have descriptive characteristics. They are used as product category identifiers, almost like little tags on the sides of a good telling people what the good is. To allow a generic word such as "car" or "smartphone" to be registered for goods which are widely associated with the particular word would rob others of the opportunity to use the word in describing their products, and the purchasing experience would be infinitely more complicated for consumers (who would be flummoxed by a word such as "aerodynamically-designed occupiable transportation instrument" for an automobile).
As a business owner who is concerned about developing a business, anything that concerns any potentially revenue-bearing aspect of a name or symbol product/service will probably include some facet related to trademark law. So if your prized name was in danger of becoming generic or was incapable of being a trademark because somebody else was using it, you might be slightly interested. This blog is written to help you conceptualize these conflicts and help you tackle some of the legal mumbo-jumbo. It will feature musings on interesting cases, trademark application drafting and enforcement tips, and commentary on other interesting trademark issues that typically confront businesses.
This blog is also about copyright law, but more generally the other kinds of I.P. not related to 35 U.S.C. §§ 1 - 376. Er, that's the patent act for all those who are not I.P. nerds and who don't write this kind of stuff on the back of notecards because they didn't have to and/or want to during law school (no concealed biterness, I swear!). Because I love to delve into the intricacies of the U.S. Copyright Act, I will occasionally post items of interest concerning this area of law as well. So if you are an author, artist, songwriter, computer programmer, sculpter, or pantomime organizer, you may find these posts relevant to your interests.