Trademarks

A trademark is any word, term, name, symbol or design or combination thereof which identifies a product or a service and distinguishes it from the products or services of others. In the United States, the symbol ® indicates that a trademark is federally registered, and the symbols TM and SM are often used with unregistered trademarks and service marks.

A trademark can be a completely made up or arbitrary term such as KODAK, or a phrase or the name of an individual which has become associated with a product or service through use.
Trademark Symbol
Examples of famous or very well-known trademarks are CALVIN KLEIN for clothing, COCA-COLA for carbonated beverages, MERCEDES-BENZ for automobiles, FTD for
the service of delivering flowers and DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT for credit card services.


In the United States, trademark rights are created when the trademark is used in commerce in connection with a particular product or service. A prior user of a trademark can stop another person or company from using a trademark that is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace, even if the prior user has not filed an application for trademark registration.

Before you begin using a trademark, a thorough search should be conducted to determine whether there might be any conflict with prior users of the same or similar trademarks. Moreover, if your company manufactures or sells its products or services abroad, we can conduct international trademark searches and coordinate worldwide trademark programs for clients seeking to adopt new marks.

Once a trademark is cleared for use, it can be registered at the state level, federally, and/or in countries around the world. We are responsible for the prosecution and maintenance of thousands of trademark applications and registrations worldwide. For U.S. matters, our staff, which includes former Trademark Examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has an in depth understanding of all aspects of the registration process, including opposition and cancellation proceedings. On a worldwide basis, our excellent relationships with leading trademark prosecution practitioners around the world facilitate global protection for our clients’ brands.

In addition, Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman’s experience extends to transactional issues and all types of trademark disputes and litigation, including those involving domain names.

Trade dress refers to the total “look and feel” of a product, packaging or a place of business. For example, the shape of a product itself, such as the classic Coke bottle, the styles and colors used in packaging, or the overall appearance of the interior of a restaurant, all may be protectable trade dress. Other examples of trade dress include the appearance of a lamp and a goldfish shaped cracker.

In order to establish trade dress rights, a party is usually required to prove that the trade dress is not functional and the public has come to associate the “look and feel” of the particular product, packaging or a businesses’ decor with the trade dress owner. The attorneys at Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman are expert in assisting clients in proving that their trade dress is protectable and then enforcing those rights against infringers. We also have extensive experience in defending clients from claims of trade dress infringement.

If you would like to discuss these or any other intellectual property concerns, please call us.


We conduct trademark searches and coordinate worldwide trademark filing programs for clients seeking to adopt new marks.
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