Protect Your Destination’s Brand With A Trademark

By David Allred

Protect Your Destination’s Brand With A Trademark

A 4-minute conversation with intellectual property attorney LaConya Murray, discussing why destinations should protect their brand with a trademark and what the process entails. View time: under 4 minutes

In a 4-minute conversation with intellectual property attorney LaConya Murray, David Allred, Stamp's Strategy Director, discusses why DMOs should protect their brand with a trademark and what the process entails.

Video Transcript

David: Why should people protect their brand?

LaConya: Why should they protect their brand? Because that's how you stand out in the market. Goodness gracious I would say that I can't think of an industry that's not saturated. And the main way for people who are looking for you to find you is to have a unique brand. And most people when they think of brand they think of the logos and the names and taglines, which is great, but all those things are built on the foundation of who you are. And that's why people want to work with you. So you need that protected so that no one else can come in and try to benefit from the hard work that you put in in building this trust with the community.

David: Right. And the other component to this is a trademark search that you do at the beginning to make sure that we have the rights to file what you're going to prepare for us. And we learn a lot from that. Tell me in just a minute about that process.

LaConya: That trademark clearance search is the foundation of whether you go through the federal trademark registration process or not, whether you say oh well I'm just doing business in my state so I don't need any of that, you still have to do a trademark clearance search because what that search is going to reveal is who is out there. We're going to check the federal database to see who has a registered trademark that's same or similar that may prevent you from registering because if you do use it then you're infringing on their trademark.

David: You know we talked the other day about examples and when I think about tourism and travel, hospitality, destination marketing organizations, can you tell me a little bit about somebody you've helped in that space?

LaConya: North Little Rock at Arkansas. They have a, you did an amazing rebrand for them and we were able to protect their logo and their tagline. And when you would think of something in the industry, like that like why would someone need to protect that? Why would the industry, why would the city want to protect that, invest in that? Because when you are looking to bring dollars into your community, again, you want to make sure that you stand out, that you're able to draw people in with a nice catchy phrase, and if someone in a neighboring state or a couple of states over, they're using something that's same or similar, then it's not so "ooh let's check this out". So that's why you're able to, that's why you want to protect your brand. So what they're able to do now is prevent other people throughout the United States from using not only that same tagline but anything that's similar. Not only that same logo but anything that's similar. And that is phenomenal.

David: Yeah it is very powerful and it's something that destination marketing organizations don't think about often. Because they're not faced with this often. And as I talked with them and we developed this brand for them, the brand-building part of the marketing effort that clients undertake is so important. If you're going to invest that much in your brand overall and over time, if you don't go through the process that LaConya went through for North Little Rock, Arkansas, you're going to have a really hard time getting someone else to stay off your mark.

LaConya: So you would have the rights because in the United States it's first to use not first to file, but now you have to go through litigation. And that can be expensive. Which is why I say you do it on the front end. And a lot of times people think well, we have to wait until we have it, you know, in order to protect it. But you brought your clients to me while you were before the launch. So you had finished the development, it was approved by the client, and now you're getting everything prepared to launch. And that's when we went into that protection phase. Because your protection starts from the time you file your application if you're not using it in commerce.