Can You Lose The Rights To Your Company Name?

appellate attorneyDo you have any Kleenex? Are there Band-Aids? These are all things you may have heard — without reading much more into it. Both of these questions are, however, examples of advertising that was so effective the namesake company ended up regretting it. Why?

Once consumers begin to regard a brand name as synonymous with any given item or product, companies can actually lose their rights to a patent and licensing fees. Companies aren’t necessarily giving up these rights without a fight, however. Here are some of the efforts businesses and appellate attorneys are taking to protect patent, trademark, and intellectual property rights.

A Friendly Reminder

Federal appeal lawyers and federal appeal law firms agree on one bit of advice: if you want attempts to hold onto your brand name and related patent to work, always use a trademark symbol after the name — especially in legal writings. For example, “companies place messages in trade publications targeted to journalists reminding them to include the ® when they’re writing about products like Kleenex (sorry, Kleenex®), Botox (BOTOX®), and Tabasco (TABASCO®),” according to The Atlantic. Similarly the trademark or (TM) will appear in legal papers. It is, however, almost always missing in news publications.

Rethinking Traditional Advertising

While some companies wait for an official appeal to reclaim their brand name — or struggle adamantly to legally hold onto it while they still can — they also rethink advertising efforts in the meantime. Band-Aid is probably the most famous example, with its commercials and carefully-worded jingle, “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, because Band-Aid’s stuck on me.” Even the company’s official Facebook page reads “Band-Aid Brand” instead of Band-Aid.

The U.S. Court of Appeals (also known as the federal circuit court) will receive 10,000 appeals in any given term. If companies lose their brand, the Appeals Court will weigh in on the issue in approximately 90 days in most cases, according to appellate attorneys.

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