Trademark Registration for Blogs: The Same Rules Apply
In order to register a business name, logo, advertising phrase, or even a scent or a color or a sound, as a trademark or service mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it must meet the same criteria for registrability as any other product or service.
That is, the blog's name and/or logo design must:
- Be in use or foreseeable in use in interstate commerce (for sale across state lines);
- Be distinctive and not generic;
- Identify the source of the good or service being marketed;
- Not present a likelihood of confusion as to the course of that good or service.
In other words, a name or logo cannot be trademarked simply to protect the creative work that it represents. Unlike copyright or patent law, trademark law does not exist to protect the creator of a trademark.
It exists to protect consumers' right to know what they are buying and from whom.
Thus, the question with regard to a blog is—what is it selling? And does the name of the blog represent that good or service?
When Can a Blog Be Trademarked?
To recap, a blog can be protected with trademark registration when its name, or the logo sought to protect, inform consumers of the source of a specific good or service offered for sale in interstate commerce.
Whether, then, any particular blog is registrable as a trademark depends on the blog and what its purpose is.
A blog that serves as its author's journal or diary, for example, but doesn't sell anything is likely not eligible for protection on the Federal trademark register.
A blog that, on the other hand, featuring articles and posts about the airline industry which are essentially advertisements for the author's airline nationally available consulting services might be, so long as the name of the blog sought to be registered mirrors the consulting enterprise's.
Isn't Owning a Domain Name Sufficient?
Owning the domain name utilized by the blog's web URL does not offer the same protection as registration on the Federal Trademark Register.
A registered trademark is prima facie evidence of first use in commerce of the name or design. Anyone alleging that you've infringed upon their use of the same mark or who infringes upon yours bears the burden of proof in asserting that theirs was the first use in interstate commerce of the mark.
Detroit Trademark Attorneys: The Bottom Line as to Blog Name Trademarking
The bottom line with regard to trademarking your blog name or logo is that you need to consult a knowledgeable trademark registration attorney before investing time, money, and your brand into an application process that may not be well-founded.
The Hilla Law Firm is located in the Detroit area but represents clients nationally for trademark matters and offers free video or telephonic consultations.
If you are interested in discussing the filing of an initial trademark application or defending an office action already filed, please contact us to discuss your matter or click here to directly schedule your initial trademark consultation into our calendaring system.