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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3139
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Am I able to trademark a concept? For instance, I have come

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Am I able to trademark a concept? For instance, I have come up with the concept to place race distances on beads that women can wear on their Pandora-style bracelets, however now 4-5 other companies are copying the idea. One company was a customer who copied the size but changed the design, and another company is very similar. Eve's Addiction has recently copied one of my beads exactly however they changed the material.

You can not trademark a concept or idea. First, trademarks are words or slogans used to identify the source (or brand) of particular goods. Thus, for example Pandora would be able to trademark the word "Pandora" to identify their brand of jewelry. Trademarks are not associated with the physical goods themselves.

However, in your situation regarding the beads and jewelry what you can do is apply for something called a design patent. I am not familiar with what "race distances on beads" would be, but let me explain what a design patent is.

A design patent is similar to a patent granted to inventions, but instead of being granted to the utility or usefulness of the invention, it is granted on the ornamental design of a functional item. A design patent thus protects the appearance of an article, and not its usefulness or functional features. And it is can certainly be granted to a unique design of an article or jewelry or series of jewelry items.

To familiarize yourself with design patents and the design patent application process, I refer you to Design Patent Application Guide by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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