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what is a trademark

What is a Trademark and Why Businesses Should Care

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A trademark can be a brand name. A trademark includes a word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services from those of others and to indicate the source of the goods/services. Importantly, a use of a trademark correlates to a specific industry classification or the type of business in which it is used. These classifications have been established by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

When setting up your small business, a startup will naturally want to create and promote brand awareness to make sure to it succeeds. An integral part of creating a strong brand is what a business calls itself, and what designs or logos are associated with your company’s name. To that end, startups and small businesses need to ensure they protect their company name, logo, and other phrases and symbols through trademark registration as marketing and advertising takes place.

While a business type is not required to register a trademark if operating in a small geographic area, the age of worldwide ecommerce made possible by the internet essentially makes a state or federal trademark all but mandatory. One of the benefits of a federal trademark is it preserves a business’s right to the trademarks through the United States, and even internationally depending on the trademark applications. For businesses that intend to bring in VC money or investors, one of the first things they will ask is about steps taken to protect intellectual property, including trademarking the key brand names and logo symbols.


Johnstun Law focuses on providing established businesses and entrepreneurs with the day-to-day legal services needed to succeed. For more information on how we can help your business succeed, call us at 801-980-5300, or via contact form.

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