1. How do I use a trademark properly?
ALWAYS distinguish a trademark from surrounding text by using it in all capital letters or at least initial caps; by using it in bold, italic, or underlined fonts; by placing it within “quotes”; or by using it in a stylized or graphic form that differs from the surrounding text. If the trademark is registered, use the ® symbol or other appropriate registration notice.
• Canon® cameras
• ROLLS-ROYCE automobiles
• Kleenex tissues
brand transparent tape
• “adidas” footwear
ALWAYS use the trademark consistently.
• Montblanc fountain pen, NOT Mont Blanc
• Nescafé coffee, NOT Nes Café
NEVER use a trademark as a noun. Always use a trademark as an adjective modifying a noun.
• LEGO toy blocks
• Amstel beer
NEVER use a trademark as a verb.
• You are NOT xeroxing, but rather photocopying on a Xerox copier.
• You are NOT rollerblading, but rather skating with Rollerblade in-line skates.
NEVER modify a trademark to the plural form.
• “tic tac” candies, NOT “tic tacs”
• OREO cookies, NOT OREOS
NEVER use a trademark in the possessive form unless the trademark itself is possessive.
• Jack Daniel’s whiskey, NOT Jack Daniels whiskey
• Levi’s jeans, NOT Levi jeans
Trademarks vs. Generic Terms
A Guide to Proper Trademark Use
2. When can I use another person’s or company’s trademark without the owner’s consent?
It is usually permissible to use another company’s trademark when referring to that company’s product in text, where it is being used to truthfully refer to that a product or service affiliated with that trademark. It may not be used in a way that might mislead others as to that company’s affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement of your company, products or services, such as using a logo instead of simply the text form of a trademark, or using the trademark more prominently or frequently than necessary.
3. Are there restrictions on the use or registration of flags or national symbols of countries?
Yes. The laws of many countries prohibit the registration of marks comprising their flags or national symbols, as well as those of other nations. Many countries also have restrictions on the use of marks associated with their political leaders and on marks of certain organizations, such as the Olympics and the Red Cross.
4. How do I use trademarks online properly?
Use of a trademark in text online is generally no different from use of a trademark in print. Certain uses of another’s trademark, however, such as in metatags, as wallpaper on a website, or as a keyword purchased from a search engine, might subject the user to legal liability.
5. If I own an Internet address, can I safely use that phrase or name in my business, and do I have trademark rights in it?
While the law differs from country to country, in general, securing a domain name, in itself, does not guarantee that you can safely use the name in your business, or that you have acquired protectable trademark rights in your domain name or a phrase within it.
Differences Between Trademarks and Domain Names