What are some sounds that have been trademarked?

What are some sounds that have been trademarked?

The primary purpose of a trademark is to prevent consumer confusion regarding who made a certain product.  A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.  It is considered unfair competition for a company to trick consumers into buying the company’s products by displaying the trademark of another company.

Traditionally trademarks were limited to things would could be seen with your eyes.  But now, it is possible to be granted trademark protection for sounds.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office will register sound trademarks.  It is important to remember that it is not necessary to register a trademark to begin using a trademark in commerce.  The rights to a trademark flow from the use of a trademark in commerce, using the trademark as a source identifier is key to claiming a trademark.  Registering the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office will grant a the user of a trademark additional right though, so it is worth the time and effort to register a trademark.

Some examples of sounds that have been successfully registered as trademarks are:

72349496 – The National Broadcasting Company’s three note chimes that precedes NBC television programs.

73553567 – The Metro Goldwyn Meyer sound of a lion roaring which precedes movies produced by MGM.

73791547 – The AT&T name being spoken along with chimes to advertise AT&T’s telephone services.

74158626 – The song Sweet Georgia Brown for basketball games played by the Harlem Globetrotters.

75086922 – The sound of a wolf howling for beer produced by Anheuser-Busch

75528557 – The phrase “You’ve got mail” for internet services produced by America Online.

75676156 – ESPN’s six musical notes to identify it’s sports entertainment products.

76163189 – A childlike giggle to identity pastry and baked goods from the Pillsbury company.

76344794 – The sound of a ringing bell to identify stock market information products from the New York Stock Exchange.

76586726 – Xylophone sounds to identify audio conferencing solutions from the Cisco company.

Sound trademarks are a relatively new phenomenon but if you regularly use a sound to identify your product to consumers then it is worth it to protect that sound as a registered trademark.  Consult with an experienced trademark attorney to learn the best way to register your trademark.

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