What is a trademark


A Trademark is the means by which a business makes itself visible in the marketplace. A Trademark can be any distinctive (not solely descriptive) name or logo. The best Trademarks are instantly recognizable and conjure up in the minds of existing or potential customers things like quality, dependability, or at the very least the source of the goods or services being bought.

A trademark is often defined as: “a word, name, symbol or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others”. A service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms “trademark” and “mark” are commonly used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Trademarks provide their owners with the legal right to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark. They cannot be used stop competitors from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark.

Examples of well-known Trademarks are: Coca-Cola, Rolls-Royce, The Apple logo and the Nike “swoosh”.

Why register A Trademark?
Prudent business people register their Trademarks with Patent Offices to gain an official record of their rights to a particular mark. A Trademark registration also grants a statutory right, subject to certain conditions, to prevent others from using the trademark without the registered owner’s permission – i.e. to prevent infringement.

One of the principal aims of a business is to build up the reputation of its goods or services and by applying for and gaining a Registered Trademark accelerates the process as it serves notice on would-be copiers of the serious intent of a business to defend its position in the marketplace.

If a Trademark is properly promoted and protected it can be a very valuable asset for any business and can in some circumstances be worth more than the bricks and mortar of a business.

Generally, Registered Trademarks are protected for specific classes of products and services for periods of 10 years, which are renewal indefinitely.