Creating a strong brand is an integral aspect of forming a new business. Businesses using historical trademarks help create a strong brand. A historical trademark is a brand which includes a historical term. Generally, the historical term in a historical trademark has some historical significance. A brand name which includes a famous person’s name, a famous event, a famous symbol or place is a historical mark.
Deciding to create a brand tied to a strong person can help. Tesla is named after a historically significant figure, Nikola Tesla. Tesla was a prolific inventor. Using Tesla as a brand helps create an impression that the company is innovative. Another historical trademark, is FranklinCovey. FranklinCovey was named after the historical figure Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was successful and well known for his writings and time management system. Using the term Franklin creates an impression that purchasing the product will make you successful.
From a legal perspective, you can chose the name of a historical person as a trademark. Generally, a trademark is a phrase, word, symbol, device, sound, fragrance or even a color. The trademark must distinguish your goods and/or services from others.
Historical trademarks are trademarks about an event or person from history. A trademark using a name, portrait or signature associated with a living person may be rejected. Generally, the Trademark Office will not allow a mark associated with a living person without permission. However, historical trademarks involving non-living individuals do not require permission.
Historical trademarks gained attention recently. Multiple organizations currently use the term THE LINCOLN PROJECT. Christopher Small, a trademark owner for THE LINCOLN PROJECT was the first. He used the term to entertain others about President Lincoln. Recently, a political group started using the same term. They also applied for a trademark for the term THE LINCOLN PROJECT. Mr. Small objected to the newer application.
You need three things when applying for a trademark.
- A Trademark owner who is using the mark;
- A Mark which you want to register; and
- The Filing Fee.
Those are the three basic things you need to apply for a trademark.
In the Lincoln case, it is unclear if the political organization conducted a trademark search. A trademark search is helpful. A Trademark Search can help you determine if a brand name is in use. Because trademarks go to the first user, finding out who is first can help avoid infringement issues.
It is also strongly encouraged to hire a U.S. trademark attorney, to file a trademark application.
If you need help in choosing a strong name or filing for a trademark application, please contact us.