Best Practices for Using Trademarks: A Guide by Carbon Law Group

You have recently submitted your trademark application to the USPTO, and now what? 

When it comes to using trademarks in your business, there are some best practices to follow to ensure you’re protecting your brand as much as possible and complying with legal standards. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of trademark usage.

1. Use Trademarks as Adjectives – Always use the trademark as an adjective followed by a noun that describes your goods or services. Avoid using it as a noun or verb. Don’t make it possessive or plural.

Correct: “Lululemon® leggings are sold here.”

Incorrect: “Lululemon is sold here.”

Correct: “Do a Google® search.”

Incorrect: “Google it.”

2. Keep the Trademark Intact – Do not alter the trademark in any way, including its spelling, hyphens, or word combinations. Use it exactly as it appears in the trademark application we submitted. If you have an update in your company’s branding, you may need a new trademark. 

3. Place Model or Product Numbers After Descriptors – Put model or product numbers after the generic descriptor, not immediately after the trademark.

Example: FlareTech® earbuds FTE-200X

4. Use the Correct Trademark Notice Symbol – Before you received the registration certificate from the USPTO, you have an unregistered trademark. Use TM or SM to give the public notice that you are using the term as your trademark. Place the notice immediately after the trademark in superscript where possible. Once the trademark is registered, you can replace the TM or SM with the ® symbol.  

Example: Adidas® shoes

5. Use Trademark Notice for Products, Not Companies – Only use a trademark notice when referring to a product, not when mentioning the company itself.

Correct: Canon sells a variety of products, including Canon® printers.

Incorrect: Canon® sells a variety of products, including printers.

6. Include a Trademark Attribution Statement – Include a statement that identifies your company as the legal owner of the trademark in product labels, safety sheets, collateral, and marketing materials.

Example: Microsoft, Encarta, MSN, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

7. Use the Correct Legal Name – Always use your company’s legal name or registered fictitious business name in the trademark attribution statement and other references to your company.

8. Employ Special Typographical Treatment – Give the trademark some typographical treatment like capitalization, italics, or bold for emphasis.

Correct: Immerse yourself in the world of IMPACT® gear.

Incorrect: Immerse yourself in the world of Impact gear.

9. Use Trademark Symbols Together – When two trademarks appear together, use the ® or ™ symbols each time the trademarks are shown.

Example: The introduction of new products, including O-Gel-O™ ScrubKing™ Sponges, makes it easier to keep your home clean.

10. Respect Other Companies’ Trademarks – If you’re using trademarks owned by other companies, use them correctly and provide proper attribution.

Example: To keep them handy, store your Stanley® hammer and other hand tools in a Craftsman® toolbox. Stanley® is a registered trademark of Stanley Logistics, LLC. Craftsman® is a registered trademark of Sears Brands LLC.

11. Consistency in Marketing Materials

(a) The first time you use a trademark, use the full product name, the appropriate trademark notice, and a generic noun descriptor.

(b) In subsequent uses, stick to the trademark with its generic noun descriptor. You can continue using ® or TM throughout the document if you prefer.

12. Logo Usage Guidelines –  If you’re using company logos and design trademarks, strictly follow all logo usage guidelines. Avoid creating unique logos for different internal departments, websites, trademarks, and products.

LEGAL SUPPORT FOR TRADEMARK ENFORCEMENT

While mastering trademark usage is essential, enforcing your trademark rights is equally vital. Collaborating with a dedicated law firm like Carbon Law Group can provide the legal expertise needed to protect your brand from infringement. From registration to defense, our team ensures your brand remains distinct and safeguarded.

Remember, Carbon Law Group is here to support you in all aspects of trademark usage and protection. Your brand’s success is our commitment.

Best Practices for Using Trademarks: A Guide by Carbon Law Group

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