Trademarks for Bloggers and Podcasters (with Gordon Firemark) – TAP078

Trademarks for Bloggers and Podcasters

Show you claim something as a trademark? Do you have to register trademarks? How can we protect trademarks in social media? And more trademark questions answered by entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark.

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What is a trademark

A distinctive brand or title to identity a product, service, or company.

“Descriptive” titles, like “how to podcast,” are difficult to trademark until it’s well-known as associated with a particular company or person.

Should we trademark our own stuff?

  • Not individual episode or blog post titles
  • Trademark a “series,” like the website or podcast name

How do we claim something as a trademark?

Trademark registration gives broader rights and protections to the trademark-owner. But it could cost about $1,000 per trademark.

Indicate a trademark with one of these three symbols:

  • ™ Goods or products
  • ® Registered trademark
  • SM A service mark (best for podcasters)

How can we protect our trademark?

Lanham Act established trademark protection, even if your mark isn’t registered, against people competing with you.

If someone just uses the descriptive words of your trademark, it’s permissible. But if they are titling something with the same trademark, then you have the right to ask them to change it. Sometimes, they’ll be respectful, sometimes not. Always start with a pleasant, respectful request.

Claiming a trademark means you’re obligated to protect it, even an unregistered trademark. If you don’t protect your trademark, you’ll lose it.

What if we haven’t indicated our trademarks?

The symbols aren’t necessary for unregistered trademarks, but it’s a recognizable way to notify the world that you’re claiming the trademark.

But if you have registered your trademark, you are required to indicate the registration.

Protecting a trademark in social media

Most social-media companies have clear policies for protecting registered trademarks. Often, they’ll also respect unregistered trademarks if you can demonstrate you’re entitled to it.

I’ve found that other services, like Instagram, have no protections for trademark violations in their service. It’s totally first come, first serve.

Register your “trademarks” in any legitimate-looking service you find pop up.

About Gordon Firemark

Still upcoming in our law series

  • Privacy policies, disclaimers, and notices
  • Podcasting as a business with tax benefits

Podcasting poll: have you registered a copyright or trademark?

[poll id=”6″]

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their son, "Noodle Boy."

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