Trademarks and Business Branding

Posted By Frank Vinluan

If a familiar product’s marketing campaign, logo, or sign caught your eye, chances are the product was trademarked. Rotarian David Harlow, a patent attorney at Manning Fulton whose experience includes more than 600 patent applications in the United States and around the world, explained to the RTP Rotary Club the role of trademarks and trademark law in supporting a wide range of products.

Trademarks can encompass any identifiable representation of a product, including packaging. Harley-Davidson even trademarked the sound of its motorcycles. Companies that have strong trademarks can become recognizable brands that build strong consumer followings, David explained. As examples, he pointed to baby food company Gerber, as well as Procter & Gamble’s Ivory soap. In his career, David has worked on trademarks for a wide array of products ranging from food items to pharmaceuticals. Preparation and filing for a trademark can cost around $975 but for companies, it’s a branding investment. “As long as you used it and renew it, a trademark can last forever,” David said.

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