Trademarks and Service Marks - An Overview
In today's fast-paced, high tech business environment, protection of your intellectual property is critical to success in the marketplace. A trademark is a distinctive name, design, symbol, word, or phrase that a seller/business owner affixes to their products/marketing materials in order to distinguish their goods or services from those of other competitors in the marketplace. A strong trademark can become a very valuable asset for your business because it helps to identify you and separate your brand from the competition. Your intellectual property should be protected just like your personal property. You would not leave the front door of your business office unlocked at night, likewise, your business name and logo should not be left unprotected from theft either. Each year in Colorado, nearly 2,000 businesses register their business name and/or logo in the Colorado Secretary of State's Trademark Database. Trademarks may be registered with the Colorado Secretary of State and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A state trademark does not prevent someone from using your mark outside of Colorado. However, a state trademark is a relatively inexpensive way to put everyone across the state on public notice that you are using your mark in commerce and makes the mark available for public viewing. Such registration benefits the owner who seeks exclusive use of a mark and a potential registrant who seeks to ensure that his or her mark does not conflict with a mark already in use.