Trademarks are interesting. Registering a trademark gives you legal ownership over a title, logo or characteristic. It might sound vague, and that’s because it is. Trademarks are utilized in many ways. They’re commonly used by businesses protecting certain titles to use for commercial gain. This stops other companies from using their trademarked property for financial gain. Here are some of the interesting uses of trademarks.
Know what the most valuable trademarks in the world are? Google and Microsoft. It makes sense for the world’s two biggest brands. Having their business names trademarked allowed them to retain ownership over them. No one else was able to sell computers labeled ‘Microsoft’, or use the name ‘Google’ for another product.
If you’re setting up a business, registering your business name as a trademark is a smart idea. It might not seem important at first, but if you were to get as big as Microsoft or Google, your name would become a valuable property. It would be a brand. Contacting a trademark attorney can help you register your name.
As well as names, many businesses trademark a logo. A logo is a mark that can identify the business. Logos that become highly recognized for the company they’re associated with can be valuable. If I were to mention the Mercedes-Benz logo, you could most likely picture it in your head. Logos are useful to brand products and use in marketing materials.
Phrases can also be trademarked. If you were to profit somehow from someone else’s registered phrase, you could find yourself with a court case on your hand. This is often used for advertising slogans. You could probably identify some companies without their brand names or logos if they have a strong slogan. Just think of ‘I’m lovin’ it’ or ‘Just do it’.
Phrases are more valuable now than ever. A popular catchphrase can often be repeated on social media through posts and hashtags, so the marketing is done for you. Taylor Swift trademarked various phrases from her songs to prevent other companies from using them on merchandise.
This is where trademarks start to get even more interesting. It’s not just pictures and words that can be trademarked. Sounds can too. Many companies trademark signature sounds which become associated with their brands. Like logos and phrases, these are used in marketing materials.
It makes sense, in a way. Sounds can be very catchy. You probably know the Intel Inside sound effect from countless commercials. It’s easy to recognize when a Disney film is starting by the intro music. Companies sometimes combine trademarked sounds and phrases in advertising jingles.
As well as business titles and phrases, some parties even trademark simple nouns.
A famous example of this is Twitter’s trademarking of the word ‘tweet’. Their request to trademark the term, defining a post on their own website, was rejected. In a bizarre twist of irony, it turned out a Twitter advertising service named Twittad had trademarked the term itself.
Twitter eventually gained ownership of the term. Props to Twittad though- it’s likely they made a ton of money from that single word. It just goes to show how bizarre, and yet valuable, trademarks can be.