As the drum roll proceeds to the upcoming Midwest IP Institute in Minneapolis and sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (and Simon Tam fame) on Thursday September 28, in a few days, I’ll be making a stop south of the border, at the University of Iowa College of Law, where it
Inherent in the question posed by the title of this post is the fact that the word "trademark" has more than one meaning, in fact, multiple meanings in the English language.
Last September, in my blog post entitled "What Does Trademarked Mean to You?," I wrote:
More than a few trademark types cringe when their clients or others say things like "let’s trademark it," "they didn’t trademark their logo," or "we don’t want to trademark this name," and, when they ask questions like "is
More than a few trademark types cringe when their clients or others say things like “let’s trademark it,” “they didn’t trademark their logo,” or “we don’t want to trademark this name,” and, when they ask questions like “is it trademarked?” or “is that trademarked software?” or “did we ever trademark our logo?” or “should we be trademarking this packaging?”
Perhaps any cringing may result from the fact that the Lanham Act — the federal trademark statute — defines the word “trademark” as a noun, not a verb or adjective:
The term “trademark” includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof —
(1) used by a person, or
(2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter,
to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.
Turns out though, the words “trademark,” “trademarked,” and “trademarking,” are recognized words with established verb meanings that have formed part of the English language: “(1) To label (a product) with proprietary identification; and (2) to register (something) as a trademark.” Moreover, the word “trademarked” has an established adjective meaning too: “labeled with proprietary (and legally registered) identification guaranteeing exclusive use; ‘trademarked goods’“.
From my perspective, there is no need for cringing or even correction, just further inquiry into how the words “trademark,” “trademarked,” and “trademarking” are being used.