Can I Trademark a Building?
You can trademark a building’s name or a logo associated with the building so long as you’re using that building’s name or logo as part of its brand identity. Take the name of a local Los Angeles landmark, the “Walt Disney Concert Hall.” Its name is federally registered for such items as shirts, magnets, and stationery—all of which are used to promote the building’s brand identity. Similarly, if you are using a unique building’s name or logo to sell any types of goods or services, you should definitely consider applying for a federally registered trademark.
In certain circumstances, you can also trademark the building’s look or design so long as you are using the building’s look or design as part of its brand identity. The look and design of a building are commonly known as “trade dress,” or the visual appearance or packaging of something that makes it unique from similar items. In the case of trademarking a building, the building’s appearance must be sufficiently visually unique—so unless your next building is soon to be featured in Architect Magazine, you may have a difficult time proving to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the design is unique enough to warrant a trademark. Upon successfully trademarking your building’s look or design, you will be able to prevent the unauthorized use of its image for commercial gain, though tourists and architecture buffs will still be able to take its picture.
If you have designed and built a building, or you have recently acquired a unique property, and are using that building’s name, logo, or design to market your products or services, please contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the importance of trademarking your building’s name, logo, and design.