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The Washington Redskins and the Creation of a New Trademark

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Intellectual Property, Trademark

In a move that was long overdue, the Washington Redskins football team announced this week that they will change their name.

The first date of use claimed by Pro-Football, Inc. for the team name was over 80 years ago, on September 19, 1937. Now they have to start the process of creating and protecting a brand new trademark.

There is much speculation about what the new trademark name and design will be. But most people have no idea how complex the creation of a new brand can be for a large corporation.

So, here is a very simple explanation on what transpires during the creation of a new trademark.

What It Takes to Develop a New Trademark for a Large Corporation

  1. The marketing department meets with key individuals within the company to find out what messages the trademark needs to convey.
  2. A budget will be developed.
  3. The marketing department develops more than one creative idea and may develop different versions of each concept (i.e., different color schemes, font styles, logos).
  4. The marketing department will meet with key individuals within the company to rank those different concepts.
  5. Comprehensive trademark clearance searches will be conducted on the top-ranked concepts. These searches will include the USPTO database, all states’ databases, domain names, international databases, and various internet search engines for use in commerce by other entities. The goal is to learn if any businesses or individuals are using the trademark in commerce for similar products and services.
  6. The trademark search results will be placed in a report with recommendations on which concepts will be strong trademarks without any likelihood of confusion with other trademarks in commerce and which concepts are weak and should not be considered;
  7. Some companies take the time to research and consider whether or not the proposed brand concepts are offensive to any specific group of people.
  8. The marketing department and key individuals at the company will then decide which concept to adopt as a new brand.
  9. Trademark applications will be filed in every class of goods and services the company sells in commerce. In this case, Class 41 for entertainment services, Class 25 for clothing, Class 16 for trading cards, posters, stickers, magazines, wrapping paper, postcards, calendars, and books — just to name a few.
  10. Brand guidelines will be developed for the marketing department and anyone licensed to use the brand.
  11. And finally, the new trademarks will be introduced to the public.

The overall process may be different for each company. In some cases, other departments, such as finance or retail sales, provide input, too.

And some companies may spend more time on the creative aspect of brand development. While others may spend very little time on creativity and focus on concepts that appeal to consumers. 

The entire process can be very labor-intensive, expensive, and time-consuming. In this day and age, brand names are extremely important. And companies like Pro-Football, Inc. will spend the extra time, effort, and money to make sure they introduce a successful new brand.

So Washington Redskin fans may have to wait several months — or more — to see the new trademark. Let’s hope it is well worth the wait.

If you have questions about the creation of a new trademark, reach out to the Marks Gray intellectual property team.


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