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Trademarks 101

In any new or existing business venture, it is important to protect all assets of the new company - tangible and intangible. One of the often overlooked intangible assets are the company's Trademarks, which help significantly to "brand" the business on a national basis.

After the mark has been decided, one of the first "must do" items is to perform a trademark search and that is typically conducted through the Trademark Office. Please keep in mind that, unlike a patent, there may be several identical trademarks so if a mark (even if identical) is found it does not necessarily end the inquiry.

The Trademark Office differentiates between "classes" of goods and services in order to determine whether or not a trademark can be registered. As an example, there are multiple "Dora'" trademarks. Each of these trademarks has been registered by the Trademark Office because each is in a different class.

I have provided a list of the registered "Dora" marks and their respective classes:

Mark - Number - Class - Description

  • DORA Class 35 promoting public awareness of the means by which scientific research is evaluated

  • Dora Class 29- Hazelnut Spreads Containing Chocolate

  • Dora Class 009- Detector's Apparatus for Measuring Radiation and Alarms to Warn of Radioactive Danger

  • Dora Class 14-Jewelry

  • Dora Class 29- Food Products Namely Jams, Jellies and Marmalades

  • Dora Class 28-Games and Playthings

  • Dora Class 25 Bathing Suits, Bathrobes, Beachwear, Etc.

  • Dora the Explorer Class 009 Video Game Cartridges

While all of them are the same in terms of the market itself, as you can plainly see, they are all classified under different classifications. As a result, it is important to determine under what class or classes the mark will be registered. Failure to clearly define the class of goods and service may, in fact, prevent the mark from being registered or cause unnecessary delay.