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
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.
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
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.