How to Trademark: Follow the Leaders
It is no secret that larger organizations try to protect their trademarks and service marks early and often. You rarely hear big companies ask how to trademark a name, design mark, or logo mark. They know exactly how to trademark because they’ve been doing it early and often and have reaped the benefits associated with a trademark registration. A recent example that will be worth watching is NBC's change to its logo. NBC's unveiling of its new logo will likely prompt their trademark attorneys to pursue a trademark registration since they understand the importance of knowing how to trademark.
If you’re worried about how to trademark a name or similar piece of intellectual property, you can follow two simple guidelines. The first is to trademark early. What this means is that there is a benefit to filing an intent to use trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), namely the benefit of securing priority even if you have not used the trademark yet. If you are actually using a trademark, it is still beneficial to file the actual use in commerce trademark early so that someone else does not come along and file a trademark that would create a barrier to you successfully registering your trademark. The second is to trademark often. This is particularly applicable to those who introduce new trademarks or change their intellectual property over time. Changes may occur to the mark itself, to a design component, or to a logo. Regardless, when something changes it is important to formalize the additional trademark protections and benefits that come with registration of the original. In the event that a new logo or other kind of trademark is created, follow the lead of companies like NBC, as noted above, and who tend to file early and often for coprehensive IP protection. There’s no reason that a small businessperson or individual shouldn’t know how to trademark a name as effectively as the megacorporations, and their trademark attorneys, in this day and age.