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Unlike other forms of intellectual property, trademarks, if used properly, can last forever. If used improperly, trademark rights can become generic. The International Trademark Association (“INTA”) developed a handy test for helping non-lawyers remember how to use a trademark properly. It’s called the A.C.I.D. Test:

  • Adjective: Trademarks should always be used as an adjective, not a noun.
  • Consistent: Trademarks should be used the same way each time.
  • Identification: Always indicate that the word is being used as a trademark by using the ® symbol for federally registered trademarks and ™ for unregistered marks.
  • Distinctive: Always display the trademark in a way that separates it from the surrounding text.

Making sure that everyone at your institution knows and applies the A.C.I.D. test will help preserve a trademarks value.