A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity.
A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings. It is legally recognized as a type of intellectual property.
A trademark identifies the brand owner of a particular product or service. Trademarks can be used by others under licensing agreements. The owner of a trademark may pursue legal action against trademark infringement.
A trademark may be designated by the following symbols:
- ™ (the “trademark symbol”, which is the letters “TM” in superscript, for an unregistered trademark, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
- ℠ (which is the letters “SM” in superscript, for an unregistered service mark, a mark used to promote or brand services)
- ® (the letter “R” surrounded by a circle, for a registered trademark)
A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on colour, smell, or sound (like jingles). Trademarks which are considered offensive are often rejected according to a nation’s trademark law.
The term trademark is also used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, such as the well-known characteristics of celebrities. When a trademark is used in relation to services rather than products.
Products/ services are identified by their logo which helps create brand value over time. A strong brand is a huge pull for new customers and an anchor for existing customers.
Registering a trademark early and using it will create goodwill and generate more business for the brand owner.
A registered trademark is an intangible asset for a company as it helps generate more business and helps attract and retain customers by account of brand recognition.
It also grants the business legal right to use a logo exclusively for 10 years with the choice to re-register.
Registering a trademark grants the trademark owner the right to make the mark exclusive and incontestable and use it in a variety of mediums.
This will be immensely useful to prove the validity of the mark and the registrants ownership incase of any infringement by a third party.