Can You Trademark a Sound?
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is something that labels and differentiates the source of the products that one party produces from the goods that another party produces. It can be designated as a design, symbol, phrase or word. A service mark is also a design, symbol, phrase or a word, but it differentiates the source of a service. The term “trademark” can be used to describe a trademark or a service mark.
Trademarks do not have an expiration date. If the trademark is being used to differentiate products in a business setting, the owner of the trademark has the rights to the trademark forever. You can register a trademark forever if you file the appropriate documents and continue to pay the fees.
What Can Be Trademarked?
This question has an extremely broad answer. Anything can be trademarked if it pinpoints the source of services or goods.
How Can You Trademark a Sound?
The fact is that it is easier to trademark an image or a word than a sound. If a sound can meet the same requirements that an image or a word is required to meet, it can be trademarked. The United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO states that a sound differentiates the source of products or services so that the sound eventually becomes associated with the good or the service in a hearer’s mind.
Sounds exist that are exclusive to a particular circumstance, and there are sounds that people hear all of the time in different situations, so they do not necessarily differentiate a brand. Examples of these types of sounds that couldn’t be trademarked because they are too general are the sound of a chirping bird, a whistle blowing or a ringing alarm clock.
Trademarking a sound takes an inordinate amount of effort. The first step is to visit the USPTO’s website and submit an application. The application will be reviewed to determine whether or not the sound meets the requirements for a trademark. The application process requires that you submit an audio recording of the sound for which you are seeking a trademark.
Sometimes, it is better to use the copyright laws to protect your intellectual property than a trademark. You can register your audio with the U.S. Copyright Office, and if someone infringes on your copyright, you will be able to sue that person. The difference between a copyright infringement and a trademark infringement would be the fact that you aren’t required to demonstrate that your audio has secondary meaning in a copyright infringement.
Secondary meaning means that there is consumer recognition, and it is important for several reasons. Secondary meaning makes it easy for people to find the products that they want. It also gives consumers a way to quickly identify the brands that they trust, so the owners benefit from their own trademarks in this way. Trademarks also help consumers quickly distinguish between the brands with which they are familiar and brands of the competitors.
Why You Need Patent Attorneys in Dallas
You need a patent attorney Dallas TX if you have a patent on a piece of property that you created with your own mind that another person is using to benefit financially. Your Dallas patent attorney will ensure that you receive compensation for the money that you lost, and that the other person gained. You may also need a patent attorney Dallas Texas if you have a patent, but you aren’t sure what your rights are or how you can protect your patents. Badmus & Associates will be an advocate for you if you believe that someone is infringing upon your patent. Our trademark lawyer in Dallas can also help you with your trademarks. Contact a patent attorney Dallas today.