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Using the Trademark Registry as an “Idea Generator” for Expanding Your Business

A solid business is one that has a “core business” that is done well and done profitably. That being said, every San Diego business should be on the constant lookout for ways to expand into new markets and new product lines. It is important, of course, to avoid the risk of diluting the core business with too much attention to the offshoots. Good business practices help balance the rewards with the risks.

Sometimes, though, there is a creative block. “Yes, expanding is good, but I cannot think of any good ideas.” One method of breaking through a creative block is to use the federal trademark registry as an “idea generator.” Often, the block results from focusing on the typical or “logical” expansion markets. If you have written a book, for example, the “logical” expansion is to think “sell the film rights.” But there are many ways to monetize creative ideas. As another example, you are running a successful San Diego craft brewery. The “logical” expansion markets might be food and other beverages (like waters or juices), but there are many ways to cross-market. Using the trademark registry is an easy way to “think outside the box.” An experienced San Diego corporate attorney can help.

When a person or company registers a trademark, they must identify the commercial area in which they are using or planning to use the trademark. This is where and why the registry can be useful as an “idea generator.” As an example, a book was written a few years ago called Fifty Shades of Grey. While your author is not a fan of the book, the book became very successful, was followed by several follow-up books, and was eventually made into a movie. When the trademarks were filed, the owners did not limit themselves to books, printed matter, films, and recordings. They registered for dozens of categories of use. Here are a few examples:

  • Soaps; perfumes; oils; cosmetics; waxes;
  • Candles; scented candles;
  • Metal goods; handcuffs;
  • Costume jewelry;
  • Leather for handbags, whips;
  • Furniture; mirrors; pillows and cushions;
  • Food and beverage service; mugs;
  • Textiles and textile goods; bed and table covers; rugs;
  • Clothing; footwear; headgear; underwear; costumes; other apparel;
  • Games; toys; sporting equipment;
  • Wines; spirits and liqueurs;
  • Education services; party planning;
  • Marriage guidance counseling; personal relationship consulting.

As can be seen, just the categories alone can help generate ideas for possible product expansion and for market niche expansion. Likewise, if your business has established a known and popular brand — even locally — trademark licensing agreements can create income streams with little impact on the time devoted to the core business. Such can significantly enhance the core business because the more widespread the brand, the more effective it is.

Contact San Diego Corporate Law Today

For more information, contact attorney Michael Leonard, Esq., of San Diego Corporate Law. Mr. Leonard provides a full panoply of legal services for businesses including mergers and acquisitions, trademarks, formation of corporate entities, review and drafting of business contracts, and much more. has honored Mr. Leonard as a “Rising Star” since 2015. Call Mr. Leonard at (858) 483-9200 or contact him via email.

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Schedule a Consultation: 858.483.9200