Trademark ChecklistThe following is a general trademark checklist to employ when selecting a trademark for your product and/or service.  Businesses and individuals can do many things to achieve maximum trademark protection and reduce the amount of risk that their trademark will lose distinctiveness and be ruled generic. The following general principles can be used as a basic guideline to assist in selecting a mark and maintaining its value.

  • Select a trademark as arbitrary and distinctive as you possibly can. This means avoiding terms that are descriptive, suggestive, laudatory, terms with geographical meaning, as well as surnames.
  • Apply for federal trademark registration as soon as possible.
  • Use the trademark on the product itself and in product advertising, linking the trademark with the generic name of the product. (ex. Levi’s Jeans).
  • Use distinctive fonts, capital letters, bold type, or colors to distinguish the trademark from other text used with the trademark.
  • Make sure to indicate the legal status of the trademark, using appropriate federal trademark registration symbols.
  • Be able to use the trademark on different, but related, products and/or services in the appropriate trademark classification. This will help educate the public of the character of the trademark term.
  • Correct any incorrect trademark use in advertising. This will help persuade the public to use the trademark correctly when referring to the trademark, which can help give legal strength to a weak trademark and help establish secondary meaning.