What is a Trademark?
A Trademark is the common name given to a number of different types of marks. These marks identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of another. Registration of a mark gives the owner the exclusive right to use that mark. The owner can prevent unauthorized use of that mark or other similar marks.
Registration of a mark in the United States only provides legal protection within the United States. If the owner requires protection of that mark elsewhere, then trademark applications must be filed abroad. Only after a trademark is registered at the Patent and Trademark Office can the owner use the official insigniation ®.
A trademark can be a word, a phrase, a shape, a sound, or a combination of these. A trademark associated with a product must be applied to the goods themselves or to their packaging.
A service mark is associated with the services provided by someone. A service mark appears in the advertising materials associated with the services.
Certification marks certify the regional or geographic origin of a product. They can also certify the material, method of manufacture, quality or a particular characteristic of the goods or services.
Collective marks are the marks used by members of an association, group or organization to indicate membership in that group.