A trademark is essentially the visual representation of your company or products or services and is the unique recognizable sign, design, or expression which helps people identify the source of the services and products. A trademark, trade mark or trade-mark is often and quite usually called service marks. An individual, legal entity or any business organization can be the owner and also the designer of the trademark. A trademark may be located on a label, package, a voucher, or on the specific product itself. Trademarks are often displayed on company buildings for the sake of corporate identity.
The owner of a trademark may pursue legal action against trademark infringement because a trademark identifies the brand owner of a particular product or service. Trademarks can also be licensed to others but the unauthorized usage of trademarks whether by trading or producing counterfeit consumer goods is considered as brand piracy. Formal registration of a trademark is required by most countries as a precondition for pursuing this type of action. Action can be taken to protect an unregistered trademark if it is in use as most countries in the world, including the United States, Canada, and other countries also recognize common law trademark rights. Registered trademarks are more prone to legal protection than common law trademarks.
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)
Though when we talk about a trademark it is typically a word, name, logo, phrase, symbol, image, design, or a combination of these elements that comes to our mind, but there is also a range of non-conventional trademarks. These kinds of trade-marks comprise elements which do not fall into these standard or conventional categories, such as those based on smell, color, or sound (like jingles). Additionally, it is better to keep in mind that a trademark cannot be offensive.
Sometimes well-known celebrities or individuals can also have a trademark, which is also used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which that particular individual is readily identified. A trademark when used in relation to services rather than products, it sometimes may be called a service mark, particularly in the United States. A trademark’s essential function is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services.