I received a new Opinion Letter from Trademark My Stuff - sooner than expected - with the results of their research for my updated trademark idea. They concluded that my new trademark idea and desire to utilize it in the beauty industry, had a slim-to-none chance of being denied. GLORYYYYYYY!!!!! In addition to the original class that I requested to register my original trademark in, they recommended another class - at an extra cost, of course. But it's okay though. A little FYI...trademark classes are categories of goods and services that your trademark is used for. The registration of your trademark only protects your trademark in the class(es) you selected on your application. Due to the fact that there are 45 trademark classes (34 goods and 11 services), unless you’re an experienced trademarking lawyer, it is difficult to deduce which category your goods or services fall into.
Trademark classes serve two purposes - (1) as a guide to help you classify where your trademark belongs and (2) it helps identify inherent trademark violations. Both of the trademark classes I paid to register my new trademark idea in are within the beauty industry. Also, a trademark is good for as long as you want it to be as long as you re-register it every ten years. I'm sure I will want to expand the scope of my business practices in the future. So, for the sake of keeping my options open, I paid the additional fee to file my new trademark idea in both classes.
This trademarking experience has been eye-opening. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to build a brand and how to protect it legally. I’ve heard so many horror stories about people creating businesses, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into their brand and marketing only to have to start over and rebrand due to not protecting their intellectual property at the beginning. Not only is starting over financially expensive, it is emotionally taxing as well. Some people never recover. I like to think of trademarking as an alarm system. An alarm system is put in place to protect a building and what’s inside. Right? So, a trademark is a tangible way to protect your intellectual property. Don’t get me wrong. Some companies carry out rebranding campaigns as a means to refresh the brand. But that’s after a decade or two. I’d rather protect my brand now and rebrand later because I wanted to and not because I had to.
I thought that this trademarking journey was going to be easy since I didn’t find my trademarking idea on the USPTO website. I had no idea that there were any trademarking classes; let alone 45 of them. Furthermore, I was clueless that the type of class you register your trademark with matters too. To avoid any confusion, the USPTO will not register a trademark that is similar to one that has already been registered. First come, first serve. What they consider to be ‘confusingly similar’ is a trademark being registered with the same mark and within the same class. That’s why ‘Dove’ body soap and ‘Dove’ ice cream are allowed. No one is bathing in ice cream and surely, no one is eating bars of soap. At least I hope not.
The same thing goes for brand colors and logos. Even sounds and physical characteristics. USPTO denied rapper Cardi B’s application to trademark ‘Okurrr’ because “it is a commonplace term, message or expression widely used by a variety of sources that merely conveys an ordinary, familiar, well organized concept, or sentiment.” In 2018, boxing announcer Micheal Buffer made over $400 million off of the sports phrase ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’. In 2012, basketball player Anthony Davis trademarked ‘Fear The Brow’ and ‘Raise The Brow’ because he didn’t want anyone to grow a unibrow and make money off of something that made HIM unique. The common theme is that each person had something that set them apart and made them stand out and they capitalized on it. Sometimes it works out and other times it doesn’t.
Needless to say, The McGhee Lawfirm and the Trademark My Stuff team has made this process as seamless as possible and I am grateful. Because even if I could navigate the trademark terrain on my own...you think that I’d successfully apply and defend my trademark application with my non-disciplined, know-nothing self? Remember, I was annoyed with the USPTO website on my first try. Trademark Law isn’t my ministry. Someone once said…”Those who can, do and those who can’t...pay those who can.” LOL
We're on our way to securing the bag and I'm excited!
Talk to me! Are you thinking about trademarking something? What’s stopping you?
Thank you for reading. Until next time.
Live. Think. Blog.
Written by: Linda Jay
Edited by: Tammy M.