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Written by : Louella Grobstein
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- Louella Grobstein, Staff Member
hi everyone i'm attorney aidan durham with 180 law co in colorado and you're watching all up in your business on this episode of all up in your business we're going to talk about some fun unique non-traditional types of trademarks things that you likely encounter on a daily basis but may not even realize that those things are actually trademarks but first don't forget to like subscribe and share and check the description for links to additional information and resources you can find a link to download my free introduction to trademarks guide as well as information on my all-inclusive trademark registration package and my online diy trademark course okay so most of us know about some of the common types of trademarks business names and logos are probably the most popular types of trademarks that we think about and that businesses will typically use as trademarks but a trademark can be really anything a trademark is any word name symbol or device or any combination of those things that identifies and distinguishes goods and services and indicates the source of those goods and services so again any device word symbol thing that's used to indicate the source of a product or to distinguish it from a product of somebody else i've said a lot before that a trademark isn't a trademark until it becomes a trademark same goes for a trademark isn't a trademark unless it's a trademark so anything that's a trademark can be a trademark get it so of course we know that business names slogans catchphrases logos these things can function as trademarks but there are a lot of other things outside of just words and logos that can be considered trademarks again anything that's used to identify and distinguish the goods or services sounds for example can function as a trademark and there are actually a lot of pretty famous sound trademarks out there you know those chimes that you hear when you're watching your favorite show on nbc yep that sound is a trademark of nbc when we hear it we know we're watching a wonderful nbc show how about this familiar sound that boring lion sound is a trademark of mgm studios this one too that's a trademark of espn i'm not sure how relevant this one really is anymore but any of you remember tevo it was like the prehistoric dvr any of you remember that kind of annoying sound that it would make any time you would try to like click things or do anything yeah well you guessed it that's a trademark too apparently tevo's still around maybe the more timely and appropriate uh sound that you guys would recognize is this one good old netflix we've all heard it a lot probably especially more in this past year even this one that's a trademark of 20th century fox but it's not just sounds smells can function as a trademark as well i would argue that my dog rocky has a trademark smell it's not a good one but when i smell it i know that that smell came from rocky the smell of play-doh for example is a registered trademark of hasbro technically the trademark is a scent of a sweet slightly musky vanilla fragrance with slight overtones of cherry combined with the smell of a salted wheat-based dough did any of you actually recognize that's what that smell was i certainly didn't it always just kind of smells like play-doh but i think that's the point when we smell that smell we think of play-doh just like when i smell that other smell i think of rocky verizon has a registered trademark of a flowery musk scent the idea is that if we walk into a cell phone store and smell that recognizable flowery musky smell we know that we've walked into a verizon store don't ask me why all these brands use musky smells i guess that's just a trend or something and this is actually kind of a relatively new thing to enter the trademark world the first smell trademark in the united states was a plumeria blossom scented embroidery thread that was issued in 1990 and especially compared to the name and logo and other kinds of conventional styles of trademarks these trademarks are pretty rare the main reason behind that is because you have to show that the scent or the smell serves no important function other than to help identify and distinguish the brand so that means the smell can't be part of the function or the purpose of the product like perfumes or air fresheners perfume scents aren't considered trademarks because that's what the purpose of the product is it's a scent and that's why it exists the sense serves no other purpose and it doesn't really help us identify or distinguish where this thing came from colors and shapes can also be trademarks again kind of like with smells shapes and colors don't always count as trademarks particularly if they serve a function or if they're essential to the use or purpose of the product or the service that classic canary yellow color of a post-it note is a registered trademark as is that brown color of those ups trucks same goes for those well recognized red bottoms of louboutin shoes the point here isn't that these companies own these colors and nobody else can use them in any other way clearly we've all seen and probably owned plenty of red shoes but if we own a black shoe with a red bottom we know we're extra fancy and speaking of fancy those light blue jewelry boxes are also a trademark of tiffany let's compare that with for example that beautiful pink color of pepto-bismol when they tried to register the trademark for that color it was denied because it was deemed functional that pink color was intended to provide a pleasing color for someone who has an upset stomach and because of that function they didn't really consider it a trademark the color serves an actual purpose in the product it's supposed to help make us feel better it's not just to let us know that we're taking pepto-bismol same goes with shapes of products a shape of a product can be a trademark as long as it's not functional coca-cola has a trademark for that distinctive shape of their bottles and that lovely distinctive shape of a delicious toblerone candy bar is also a trademark even textures can be considered trademarks this company has a registered trademark for their flocked texture on a label to be used on a glass bottle the point with all of this is trademarks are not exclusive to just words and images potentially anything can be a trademark as long as it's used as a trademark i always recommend working with an experienced trademark attorney if you're trying to get a registered trademark but that is a million times more important if you're trying to register one of these non-traditional types of trademarks just because you use a certain color on your product or your product packaging or a certain sound and connection with your services or something like that doesn't necessarily mean it's a trademark or that it's eligible for registration with the united states patent trademark office as i was researching getting ready for this video a lot more of what i found was why this trademark didn't get registered or why this one didn't get registered and these were from big companies i'm talking big corporations with millions and millions of dollars to throw
Thanks Cagini6 your participation is very much appreciated
- Louella Grobstein
About the author
I've studied zootomy at Salem State University in Salem and I am an expert in optical astronomy. I usually feel infuriated. My previous job was biomedical equipment technician I held this position for 27 years, I love talking about surfing and karate. Huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson I practice paintball and collect vintage cars.
about "A trademark could be a sound three dimensional mark or smell mark".
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