Monday, January 22, 2007

Mall Marks III

Up in the Great White North, the Canadian Trademark Blog noticed a recent uptick of real estate developers applying to register mark of individual properties, such as malls.

A developer’s business or corporate name normally has a shelf life that’s longer than any single development. In many cases the name of the developer is featured as much (or more prominently) in the marketing of each development than is the name of the development itself. Because of this, the protection of such corporate or business names is likely as or more important than the protection of marks for specific development projects, particularly where the marks for development projects are not distinctive.

As creative marketers begin to shake up the industry with more interesting and distinctive marks for specific projects, the need to protect these distinctive project marks will no doubt increase.

It looks like there's a similar thing going on down here in the states as well. Even properties developed years ago are now subject to trademark applications and registrations. For example, the Briarwood Mall in good ol' Ann Arbor, Michigan was first used in 1973, but the trademark application was filed on June 17, 2005, nearly 32 years after the mall opened. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, which is about 10 minutes away from me in Dublin, Ohio, was first used in 1997. The application was filed on April 18, 2005 (by the same attorney that filed the Briarwood Mall application).

So what's good advice up north is good advice down south. As real estate developers come up with distinct names for their individual projects, they should consider protecting those marks. Also important is to conduct a search before you adopt the mark.

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