The Wall Street Journal in an article located here discusses Apple’s successful attempt to trademark the 3-dimensional design of its iPod media player.  While the concepts discussed are standard fare for our clients and readers of our blog and newsletter,  one particular passage stands out:

“companies typically don’t give enough attention to the management and potential value of trademarks — especially when it comes to the nontraditional variety. This is partly because trademarks, like other intellectual properties, are complex assets. But they can make a significant difference.”

A large part of our Chicago trademark law practice involves taking over management of the trademark portfolios of our clients either from larger firms or from in house legal departments.  Often we find that while the portfolio is properly maintained (deadlines have been docketed, renewals filed etc.), the portfolio lacks any strategic focus or direction and potentially valuable marks are unprotected.

The takeaway – review your trademark portfolio for strategic gaps and think expansively and creatively when auditing potential marks for registration.

For a discussion of nontraditional trademarks, see our November 2007 newsletter located here.