List of Trademarks: Everything You Need to Know
List of trademarks are the lists of symbols, phrases, or words used to distinguish a product and identify it from a manufacturer or seller.3 min read
List of Trademarks
List of trademarks are the lists of symbols, phrases, or words used to distinguish a product and identify it from a manufacturer or seller.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a combination of numerals, words, and letters, or it can include three-dimensional shapes, drawings, or symbols. Even non-visible things like fragrances, sounds, or color shades can be trademarked.
Examples of Trademarks
One example of a trademark that distinguishes a product is the trademark of Nike. The swoosh on Nike shoes make it easy to tell them apart from shoes made by other companies. Another example is the trademark of Coca-Cola, which makes it easy to tell which soda includes the drink of that manufacturer.
Logos or marks which are used for services are called service marks, but are treated almost identically to trademarks.
Limits on Trademarks of Identifying Features
Identifying features, for example, a color or the shape of a product’s container, may be trademarked.
The trade dress may be protected if consumers identify that feature with a specific manufacturer’s product rather than with that product generally. If, however, these features give a manufacturer a competitive advantage, then the identifying feature may not be protected. One example would be if a particular design for a box has a functional advantage (easier to stack or safer to use), then the unique shape cannot be protected.
How Trademarks Help Consumers
Consumers use the trademarked information to identify the source of the product, and therefore their experienced notion of quality or value of a particular product. Distinguishing between brands, though trademarks, makes it easier for consumers to find the products they desire. In addition, it saves the sellers of these products from having to explain the manufacturer of a product. Consumers can identify the producer for themselves.
Trademarks ensure that companies invest in quality and safety of their goods. When a consumer has found a brand that they like, they will return to that brand in the future. On the flip side, if a consumer finds a particular product or manufacturer lacking in quality, then they can avoid it in the future. Regulating the use of trademarks and trademark law furthers the goal of quality competition.
Some Limits on Trademarks
Trademarks can be almost any device, symbol, name or word capable of classifying the source of goods. Of course, there are a few limitations. The functionality doctrine may be applied and a mark’s registration may be denied. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refuses to register unremarkable marks which have not achieved a secondary meaning.
Scandalous and immoral marks may also be rejected along with marks that are geographic in nature, common surnames, and marks that may be reasonably confused with other trademarks that already exist.
Intellectual Property Rights Extend to Trademarks
One definition of trademark is the law protecting the use of a device by a seller or manufacturer to identify its products and to pinpoint its goods in a field of other sellers or manufacturers.
Marks which are used for services are generally referred to as service marks, but are treated identically to trademarks. The federal government and state governments both govern trademarks.
The main protection for trademarks originally came from common law at the state level. Historic changes were made in the 1800s when Congress passed the first trademark laws at the federal level.
The expansion of federal trademark law has taken over much of the original state common law.
The Lanham Act was enacted in 1946 and amended in 1996.
Federal Law Governs Generally
The main laws are federal with some state laws still available. Marks that are registered federally have a nation-wide scope and so they are protected in the entire U.S. and its territories. The protections are provided at the state and federal level.
The small circle with an R at its center is the symbol that the mark is registered with the U.S. federal government. If a trademark is unregistered, then a “tm” should appear on the mark. If a service mark is unregistered, then a “sm” should appear on the mark.
If you need help with registering a trademark, a service mark or any legal need, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5-percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with, or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.