A “trademark” relates to any word, phrase, symbol, or design used in trade to identify and distinguish the source of products of one business from those of competitors. Similarly, a “service mark” identifies and distinguishes the source of a service. For example, a business’s (1) brand name (such as “French Market”), (2) logo, like the “Z&B Green Market” and “Dr. Meaux’s” designs featured here), and/or (3) slogan (such as the “Home Grown…” slogan used by Gardner Realtors) may be a trademark or service mark. Our attorneys are pleased to offer complimentary initial consultations designed to evaluate the potential trademark portfolio of the business, including whether the potential name and/or logos associated with the company comply with the legal requirements of the federal Lanham Act.
Importantly, the business owner must be aware that a state’s authorization to form a business with a particular name does not grant the owner trademark rights in that name. Consequently, it is possible, or even probable, that another business or competitor may later try to prevent use of that business name, and potentially make the owner surrender business assets (like a website domain name), if the competitor believes a likelihood of confusion exists with its own marks.
It is therefore imperative that a business’ marks be adequately secured and protected. A distinctive mark allows a business to build public goodwill and brand reputation in its goods or services, and are thus among the most important and valuable assets of the business.