Federal Protect | Education

Most people think of press releases as a marketing and publicity tool, but experienced entrepreneurs employ them for another reason. This article outlines how to use press releases for protecting your common law trademark rights, improving brand strength, and potentially improving your chance of registered trademark acceptance.

What exactly is a press release?

A press release, also known as a news release, is a brief, compelling news story written by a public relations professional or a business. The main objective of a press release is to pique the interest of journalists, bloggers, influencers, or any relevant third parties who cover your industry, so that they will share your announcement through their channels.

Press releases typically follow a standard format, which is especially important to comply with editorial guidelines of news syndication and distribution services. It includes the announcement itself, information about the company, and contact information for journalists who want to learn more.

The Brand Builder press releases are published via United Press Corps.

Why distribution is so important

A press release alone has little value unless it’s also distributed and republished widely. The Brand Builder press release also includes distribution to relevant news in a process called news syndication. These publications ensure it appears on Google News and general Google searches for terms related to your business.

Publications are matched to the content of the press release and the type of business being promoted. Targeting is done by both country and industry type.

Below is an example showing 52 of the 280 specific news sites that published a recent Brand Builder press release for a company in the health technology industry.

52 of the 280 news sites that published a recent Brand Builder press release for a company in the health technology industry.

How Press Releases Protect Trademarks

This simplified example illustrates several points:

A small bakery creates a popular new cookie they call the “ChocoPuff”. They issue a press release on March 1, 2023, announcing the creation and sale of this new product. The press release, distributed widely across national news outlets, Google News, and social media platforms, provides a public record of the first use of the “ChocoPuff” name in commerce.

A few months later, a larger bakery chain introduces a cookie with a similar name: “Choco-Puffs,” and notifies the small bakery that they must stop using the name “ChocoPuff.” The small bakery decides to contest the use of the “Choco-Puffs” name, asserting that they were the first to use a similar name commercially.

In the ensuing legal discussions, the press release dated March 1, 2023, serves as a crucial piece of evidence. It clearly demonstrates the small bakery’s prior use of the “ChocoPuff” brand for their unique cookie. This public record, made through the press release, helps bolster the small bakery’s case and provides protection for their brand and product.

Establishing a clear public first-use in commerce date

The date of first use in commerce is a key element in establishing trademark rights in the U.S. A press release announcing a new brand or product provides evidence of the first public use of the trademark in commerce, which can also be useful for trademark applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Notifying competitors about your brand

A well-distributed press release can serve as a public announcement to competitors about the new brand, making it less likely for competitors to accidentally use the same or similar brand, reducing the chances of trademark disputes.

Establishing common law trademark rights

By publicly using the brand in a press release, a business can start establishing common law trademark rights, which exist even without formal registration. Brand Builder distributed press releases are published in several national news sources so that common law usage is not necessarily restricted to a single region, such as your home state.

Creating Google News results

Having your company appear in Google News is a benefit that can actually attract customers. Brand Builder releases appear in Google News within hours of distribution, increasing visibility and strengthening the association between the brand and its goods or services in the minds of consumers, crucial for trademark strength.

Improving company site indexing

New business websites can sometimes take months to be “indexed” by Google and begin appearing in search results. Press releases create a large number of links to the website, which accelerate indexing.

Generating permanent and positive Google results

A professional press release can generate long-term positive search results about your brand, shaping public perception. They often contain backlinks to the company’s website, providing SEO benefits, and are indexed by all major search engines.

Optionally establishes brand logo

If you are also trademarking a logo or simply want to establish usage, it can also be included in the release and clearly identified as a trademark.

Improves trust and credibility

Using the logos of news sites where your press release has been published can enhance your company’s trust and credibility, demonstrating that your news or brand has been recognized by reputable media outlets. This is often displayed in an “As Seen On” section on a company’s website. It serves as a form of social proof, providing potential customers with more confidence in your brand.

Authority social content

Press releases make good content to post to your brand’s social media channels because they have more authority than typical “self-promotional” social content.

About the Brand Builder press release

The Brand Builder is a specific format of release which is designed to clearly establish the first-use date of a new brand, the regions it is (or will be) available in, and how the product or service can be purchased—all important elements of trademark protection.

Provided by Primaseer Publishing, Brand Builder releases are written by business journalists and distributed via the United Press Corps to several dozen national publications.

The Brand Builder is a service provided by Primaseer Publishing.