Trademark Overview

A Trademark or service mark is a distinctive word, phrase, slogan, name, graphic symbol, picture, emblem, device, design, logo or any combination thereof which is used in commerce to identify and distinguish a company’s products or services from that of another company and to indicate the source of the goods or services. A service mark does the same thing as a trademark, but instead of products, service marks identify services and events.

Trademark law governs the use of trademarks and service marks. Trademarks are a form of intellectual property. The law entitles the owner(s) to exclusive use of the mark in relation to the products or services for which it is registered. The law in most jurisdictions also allows the owner of a registered trademark to prevent unauthorized use of the mark in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the registered products or services, know as trademark infringement.

Forms of Trademark

A trademark is a device which can take almost any form, as long as it is capable of identifying and distinguishing specific goods or services. The most applicable forms of trademark may be described as following.

  1. Letters and words:

A word or other groupings of letters is the most common type of mark.

  1. Logos:

Logos are probably the next most common form of mark. A logo can be described as a design which becomes a mark when used in close association with the goods or services being marketed.

  1. Pictures or drawings:

Pictures or drawings of a character or scene are often used as trademarks or service marks.

  1. Combination:

A trademark might be a combination of letters and a design.

  1. Slogans:

Slogans from advertising campaigns are also used as trademarks.

  1. Color marks :

The color of an item can also function as a trademark.

  1. Product shape :

A product or container shape can also serve a source identifying function and therefore can be an enforceable trademark. A product or container shape may also be subject to a design patent.

  1. Sound marks :

A sound can also be a trademark or a service mark.

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