The top ten trademarks in the United States are all worth billions of dollars, and they're owned by successful, well-known companies. Trademarks account for an average of a third of corporate value, and developing and protecting them is an excellent investment in customer goodwill, satisfaction, higher sales, and bigger profits. A trademark can be almost anything, including words, logos, sounds, shapes, colors, smells, and tastes. It helps customers identify the provider of a product or service, assures high quality, and promotes competition. Here are the top ten most valuable trademarks, along with useful trademark tips.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Trademarks                                                                                 

Here are the companies with the most valuable trademarks:

  • Google is the most popular search engine, and its trademark is worth $44.3 billion. Android, the company's mobile operating system, has a bigger share of the market than Blackberry and Apple. Google's market capitalization, the number of shares multiplied by the share price, is $164 billion. 
  • Microsoft has a trademark value of $42.8 billion and a market cap of $204 billion. It's the largest software company in the world, and it offers video game consoles, consumer electronics, operating systems, and more.
  • Walmart has a trademark value of $36.2 billion and a market capitalization of $184 billion. It's the world's largest retailer, with over 2 million employees and almost 9,000 stores.
  • IBM's trademark is worth $36.2 billion, and the market cap is $199 billion. The company holds more patents than any other technology company, and it makes software and hardware for a variety of fields.
  • Vodafone has a trademark value of $30.7 billion and a market capitalization of $138 billion. It's one of the biggest mobile telecommunication networks in the world, with more than 340 million customers in over 20 countries.
  • Bank of America's trademark is worth $30.6 billion, and its market cap is $109 billion. It has one of the largest networks of bank branches in the United States, with some 6,000 locations in the country and another 300 outside the U.S.
  • GE, or General Electric, has a trademark value of $30.5 billion and a market cap of $197 billion. The company is involved in many industries, from health care to household appliances to aerospace.
  • Apple's trademark is worth $29.5 billion, and its market capitalization is $307 billion. It's known for its smartphones. 
  • Wells Fargo has a trademark value of $28.9 billion and a market cap of $143 billion. It's one of Bank of America's biggest competitors. 
  • AT&T's trademark has a value of $28.9 billion and a market capitalization of $182 billion. It's the largest provider of local and long distance telephone services in the United States, with about 95 million subscribers.

Trademark Tips

If you don't use your business's trademarks properly, you could dilute their value. If a trademark isn't Federally registered, use TM for trademark or SM for service mark with the logo or name. After it's registered, use the trademark symbol. To keep it from becoming generic, don't use your trademark to describe your product. For example, Kimberly-Clark calls its products “KLEENEX® tissues” or “KLEENEX® brand tissues" to prevent "KLEENEX®" from becoming just another name for tissues instead of its own brand.

Keep your trademarks updated. Otherwise, they could be canceled by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. In Hachette Filipacchi Presse v. Elle Belle LLC in 2007, the TTAB or Trademark Trial & Appeal Board canceled a registration because the trademark included clothing for women, men, and children.

When the company turned in the statement of use, the trademark was only used on accessories and clothing for women. The TTAB, a part of the USPTO, decided the description of the products used for the trademark was inaccurate. Your trademark could also be canceled for an inaccurate date of first use or other incorrect information. First use is the day when a product with a trademark is transported or sold in commerce. For services, it's the day the mark was first displayed or used to sell or advertise a service.

A commercial service can help you monitor your trademarks and catch trademark infringement as soon as possible. If you allow others to use your mark, you should use a written licensing agreement. Don't let businesses selling low-quality products or services use your trademark, because they could dilute or invalidate your trademark rights.

If you need help learning more about the top ten trademarks, you can post your legal need or post your job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.