Ferrari is notoriously protective of anything and everything that bears even a remote connection to the Ferrari brand and has, along the years, earned a reputation for being quick to fire cease and desists and even lawsuits against anyone who dares infringe their trademark. Ferrari has held the trademark for the shape of the 250 GTO, aka the most iconic Ferrarz of all time and one of the most expensive cars in the world. The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO originally cost $18,000 when they were new. In 2018 a 250 GTO sold privately for $70 million dollars. Ferrari lost its European Union trademark for the 250 GTO for nonuse.
It is not enough to just register your trademark. You must use it or lose it. To maintain trademark rights, your trademark must be continuously used in commerce. The mark must appear prominently and consistently on labels or packages of goods and on all marketing materials for services.
Trademarks are used to distinguish goods and services from those of their competitors. Consistent use helps customers know a product or service comes from a single company. Marks also help customers trust that the quality will be the same as the last time they made a purchase.
Infringement occurs when someone else uses your mark or a similar mark and there is a likelihood of confusion among consumers as to the source of the
goods or services. Infringement is hard to prove if you are not using your trademark consistently enough for consumers to be familiar with it.
BEST PRACTICES TO PROTECT YOUR TRADEMARK
You trademark is your valuable intellectual property and you can, and should, protect it. Here are several best practices you should follow:
- Use your trademark continuously and consistently
This means you should always use the same capitalization, font, and colors as well as the same punctuation and spacing every time.
- Be consistent in your use of recognized trademark symbols
There are three recognized trademark symbols: ®, TM, SM. You may only use the ® symbol after you have received a trademark registration from the USPTO. Before you receive a registration, you can use TM or SM to let the public know you are claiming a common law right to the mark. The TM symbol stands for trademark and should be used for marks that represent goods. The SM symbol stands for service mark and should be used for marks that represent services.
- Create branding guidelines
Your company may have many employees who use your trademark on a regular basis. This can cause inconsistent use of anything from color to attribution. You can help prevent this by creating brand guidelines that detail exactly what is required every time your trademark is uses.
- Register your trademark
Your trademark could be worth millions someday, just take a look at Mercedes Bens, Rolex or Apple. These trademarks are priceless and recognized around the world. Registering your mark with the UDPTO could be one of the best decisions you can make for your brand.
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