Trademarked Words and Shapes

Trademarked Words and Shapes – Are You in Compliance?

Trademarked words and shapes are a surprisingly large group of common words and everyday shapes that have been registered by various companies as their trademark.

A trademark is defined as a “recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others1A trademark is not necessarily registered. Many companies use a logo, name or symbol to represent themselves that is not registered. On the other hand, a registered trademark is a trademark that has been legally registered so that no one else can use the same sign, design or expression to identify similar products.

An red registered trademark (®) logo.

A red registered trademark (®) logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Generally, a trademark only applies to the particular market niche it is being used in. Therefore, it is possible to use a common brand name for one product to market an entirely different product or service. Delta is a very good example, where it is used for an airline, speakers, faucets, controls and dental care, just to name a few.2 Quite a surprising number of well-known trademarks are shared by more than one brand.

But wait – there’s more…

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Customer Support

Customer Support – yes, you CAN get help!

Customer support can be pretty maddening when you need help, especially if you have a “situation” going. Here’s my experience. This is actually very typical when dealing with customer support with many companies.

Today… I finally got a Support Manager. For anyone familiar with trying to get help from Support from many companies, you may have noticed it can be a bit frustrating.

Be patient! Here’s exactly how it works. I can tell you this from many years of experience dealing with customer support for MY customers. Plus, I have sat in the Support chair. I understand what they go through, too.

Support is a crazy busy job. I mean CRRRAZY busy! In the course of the day, you get a lot of requests that really are a huge waste of time. I mean, people will go to the trouble of putting in a support request to find out cold it is in Atlantic City! Continue reading

When the Big Guys Cry Foul

When the Big Guys Cry Foul – you and I don’t stand a chance…

When the big guys cry foul over something you’re doing or selling, you and I, the little guy, don’t stand a chance.

I found this out several times during my years of selling on eBay.

Overall, selling on eBay was a pretty good experience, although I don’t do much of it any more. Their support staff was pretty good to me, and always went as far as they sometimes dared to help me.

Amazon wasn’t nearly as helpful. Their service was so bad that I stopped selling on that platform. It wasn’t that their staff wasn’t nice. They were very nice, including the ones i

The satellite office campus of eBay in the Nor...

The satellite office campus of eBay in the North First Street neighborhood of San Jose, California. PayPal is based here, along with several other eBay divisions. Photographed on September 9, 2006 by user Coolcaesar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

n China where their software error routed me for months, as they tried their best to understand and be understood. (They understood English much better than I understand Chinese, but that’s not saying much…)


What I found as a seller is that, first of all, it’s really difficult to sell anything if you’re not using a big platform with lots of traffic, and secondly, that even the largest platforms like eBay cower before the really big multinationals.

In other words, if one of the big guys decide that you are selling something that infringes on their trademark rights, even though you know it doesn’t, you simply will not get a chance to defend yourself. All the advertising copy that you may have worked so hard to create will be removed immediately and you will no longer be able to sell that product. Continue reading