Definition of Trademark

Trademarks 101

The definition of trademark is:

A Word, Phrase, Symbol, Design or Combination thereof that identifies the source of goods or services.

 Definition of Trademark

A good mark will distinguish your products and services from those of competitors in the marketplace and help the consumer avoid confusion. Thus, a trademark can become a vital intellectual property asset of your business.

Once you have selected a good trademark and know that it will add value to your business, you should enhance your legal protection through trademark registration. Trademark Application Headquarters walks you through the details on how to file your application and trademark a name or stylized mark.

See our Mickey Mouse trademark example on our beginners guide page to learn more about how patents and copyrights can be used to protect your product or brand.

As you determine your brand and begin to develop it, consider making it stand out even more by adding a trademark or service mark to your brand. By the very definition of trademark, consumers will use your mark to identify your products and services among the crowd of pretenders. Therefore, your mark can help keep your customers returning to your business, and help spread your brand to more people.

A trademark is different than a brand in that your brand represents much more than just a mark. Take for example McDonald's fast food. The McDonald's brand includes their speed of service, building colors, and expected food quality.

Overall, your brand may be very similar to a competitor's. You may even choose to model the personality of your brand after another successful company. For example, you may serve extremely quick food at reasonable prices.

Nevertheless, you will want to distinguish your brand to avoid confusion and differentiate yourself in the marketplace, and also avoid trademark infringement. This is where a trademark can be valuable as a potentially very important part (but only a part) of your overall branding strategy.

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