Can Trademark Protect My Mobile App?

Image Copyright Rob Enslin via CC by 2.0

Image Copyright Rob Enslin via CC by 2.0

App owners should always consider protecting the brand name of their App by filing a trademark application.

A trademark is a brand identifier that helps your consumers distinguish your product or service from similar products and services in the marketplace.  Because there is no "one size fits" all when it comes to preparing a trademark application, you need to understand how your mobile application functions and explain that to your trademark attorney.

The goods and/or services associated with a mobile application may fall into multiple international trademark classes.  As you visit with a trademark attorney, make sure to fully disclose how your mobile app works and precisely what information will be downloaded or accessed by the end-user.  For proper trademark protection it actually does make a difference whether or not content is downloaded to the end-user or is only accessed by the end-user via the mobile app.

Below are a few descriptions of goods and services related to mobile apps found at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

IC 009 - Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for {specify the function of the programs, e.g., for use in database management, for use as a spreadsheet, for word processing, etc. and, if software is content- or field-specific, the content or field of use}

IC 038 -  Wireless communications services, namely, transmission of {_________________}

IC 041 - Entertainment services, namely, non-downloadable {________________________} presented to mobile communications devices via a global computer network and wireless networks

IC 042 - Development of downloadable software applications for others for use in connection with {____________}

The list is not exhaustive and just gives you a glimpse at some of the options to consider while researching, preparing and filing a trademark application for a mobile app. Keep in mind what you register for your mobile app may, or may not, be sufficient to protect the non-mobile or web version of the same product line.

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