It’s play-off season, and for me, that means I’m glued to the television when the New England Patriots are on. I’m also a small business attorney, however, so if you’re watching the game with me, prepare to be berated with nonsense during the commercials.
One such nonsensical rambling came about during a Burger King commercial, and although no one I was watching the game with seemed to care, those interested in creating and protecting a brand just might.
The rambling? An advertisement for Burger King’s Whopper(R) sandwich.
“Whopper Sandwich?” you may say. “Why do you call it that instead of just a ‘Whopper’?”
My rambling precisely. What Burger King is doing here is protecting its trademark. You see, “Whopper” is a word mark registered to Burger King Corporation used to designate goods and services pertaining (most recently) to “hot sandwiches” and “hamburger sandwiches.”
What Burger King is working hard to prevent is losing their famous trademark due to it becoming generically associated with “hamburgers” in general (did you know that “Aspirin,” “Escalator,” and “Trampoline” all used to be brand names?).
If you own a trademark for a particular good or service, what any competent attorney will tell you is that (for the sake of your trademark) you should always refer to the item as “xxx brand yyy type of good.” This is what Burger King is doing. And if you’re a small business owner looking to expand your brand, you should to.
If you would like to learn more about protecting or developing your business’s intellectual property portfolio, get in touch!