Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

How to describe goods and services under a trademark

When New Jersey business owners decide to trademark their names, logos and symbols, they will need to form descriptions of the goods and services their businesses offer. These lists are reviewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and can determine if a business's goods and services are too similar to others previously registered. Competitors may also use these descriptions to determine if they can get away with creating a similar product.

When creating this list, it's important to be accurate as incorrect descriptions can result in the cancellation of a trademark registration. In order to ensure that the trademark offers the biggest scope of protection, it's suggested that business owners keep their descriptions to a relatively short list of broad terms. For example, rather than specifically listing "pens and pencils", it may offer more protection to simply list "writing utensils." This can help ensure that the trademark still applies if the business adds new items to the goods and services they offer, ultimately saving on effort and cost down the line.

In some cases, however, it can be more beneficial to be more specific. A more concise description can help to distinguish a newer application from an existing one, and it can also help to ensure that descriptions are updated as the business changes and new applications are submitted. Generally, vague terms like "technology" are not acceptable for trademark applications.

Business owners who aren't sure how to create their descriptions of goods and services may find it helpful to seek advice from a lawyer experienced in intellectual property law. A lawyer can help business owners to draft their trademark applications and help them maximize the scope of protection offered by their registration.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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