A trademark gives specific identity to your business. There are many different types of trademarks and trademark laws that businesses should be familiar with.
What Are the Different Types of Trademarks?
A trademark or service mark gives specific identity to your business. The main purpose of a mark is to help recognize the origin of goods or services offered by a company. Thus, a mark, either trade or service specifies the source of origin.
There are specific and restricted rights attached to a registered mark. The trademark rights usually take place due to the use of, or for maintaining special rights over the mark used in the commercials. It also signifies that there is not any trademark objection as such.
A trademark is a brand identity and brand name. It is any name, symbol, word or device, a combination of a few or all of the above used in a business to give it a specific identity.
A trademark helps to distinguish the products of one seller or manufacturer from products sold by other seller or manufacturer. Trademark ideally indicates the source and origin of the products.
A service mark is any name, symbol, word or device, or a combination of few or all of the above to distinguish the services of one provider from another. Service mark indicates the source and origin of the services. For example, PNC bank uses a colorful logo called a service mark to help consumers identify the bank.
A collective mark is the service mark or trademark used by the members of an association, a cooperative or any other collective group. A collective mark in the business signifies the membership in an association, a union or some other organization.
A trade name may either be an assumed name or the actual name under which the business functions.
A trade dress includes all aspects that constitute the complete image of a product. The different aspects such as the packaging, configuration, size, shape, and color of a product are collectively called a trade dress. A trade dress is essentially concerned with the marketing and promotional factors of a good or service.
What is trademark infringement?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademark infringement is the illegal or unauthorized use of a trade or service mark.
The USPTO is a fee-funded organization of the United States Department of Commerce. It is established to grant patents and to register trademarks and service marks for small and large business across the US.
If a commercial establishment uses a trademark that is likely to create confusion or misunderstanding about the origin of the goods it could be termed as infringement. Trademark used by commercial companies to deceive others would also constitute as trademark infringement.
The trademark owner may take legal action against anyone involved in trademark infringement. However, registration of the trademark is a prerequisite by most countries before any legal action can be taken. Countries like the United States, Canada, and other countries offer the common law trademark rights to the commercials.
This denotes that legal action can be pursued even against the unauthorized use of the unregistered trademark. However, considerably less legal protection is available to the unregistered trademark owners than to the registered ones.
You may choose to contact an experienced trademark attorney if your trademark, whether registered or unregistered, is being misused by anyone. A trademark lawyer will guide the holder with best available options in situations of trademark infringement. Also, the attorney is able to evaluate the strength and validity of trademark infringement claims made by the owner.
What is trademark law?
The trademark owner invests a considerable amount of time and money in offering a product or service to the consumer. Thus, the owner must be allowed to protect their investment by discouraging others to use the trademark illegally and reap the benefit of the owner’s investment. The significance of the trademark is decided by the goodwill and strength of the organization. Primarily, the consumers determine the value of the trademark.
Trademark laws are offered by the USPTO. It prevents unfair competition by adopting a test on consumer’s confusion. And, thus, the trademark law provides rights and solutions to the holder of the trademark.
Trademark laws are administered by the federal and the state law. Though federal law offers the main and a comprehensive resource of trademark protection, the actions of the state common law are still in function.
Contact a Trademark Lawyer TodayIf you are looking for a trademark lawyer, contact us at the offices of Paul & Paul to get your questions answered. Call our offices at 866-975-7231 for a consultation today.
Featured Legal Term: Unfair Competition
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, unfair competition can be defined as: “A term which may be applied generally to all dishonest or fraudulent rivalry in trade and commerce, but is particularly applied in the courts of equity (where it may be restrained by injunction) to the practice of endeavoring to substitute one’s own goods or products in the markets for those of another, having an established reputation and extensive sale, by means of imitating or counterfeiting the name, title, size, shape, or distinctive peculiarities of the article, or the shape, color, label, wrapper, or general appearance of the package, or other such simulations, the imitation being carried far enough to mislead the general public or deceive an unwary purchaser, and yet not amounting to an absolute counterfeit or to the infringement of a trade-mark or trade-name.”