A trademark refers to an intellectual property that consists of a recognizable sign, expression, or design that can identify the source of a product. A trademark that identifies a service is known as a service mark. Owners of these trademarks can be legal entities, business organizations or individuals. Trademarks can be located on a voucher, package, or label. Corporate identities often have their logo displayed on their buildings.
The history of trademarks dates back to 1226 during the reign of King Henry III. The king ordered all bakers to have distinctive marks on their bread. The first trademark act was passed in 1938. The law changed the registration system of products and services.
The trademarks can be used by another person when there is a licensing agreement. Unauthorized use of a trademark to produce fake products is referred to as brand piracy. The legal owner of the trademark can pursue legal action. The owner of the product should register the trademark formally in order to avoid trademark infringement. Countries such as Canada and the United States recognize trademark laws.
A trademark is basically a phrase, design, symbol, word, name, or logo. All these elements can also be used together to make a trademark. Non-conventional trademarks include marks that are not in this category. They include sound, smell or color. Offensive trademarks can be rejected based on the trademark laws of a country.
A trademark can be used in an informal setting to refer to a distinctive attribute of a person. This entails characteristic of a well-known celebrity. In countries such as the United States, a trademark can be used on the basis of the service. This is referred to as a service mark.
There are two symbols that are used to show the nature of trademarks. This includes ™, which refers to trademark symbol and symbol ® which refers to a registered trademark. These two marks indicate the status and level of protection. Symbol ® is used when the owner has registered the mark with the relevant authorities. Symbol ™ can be used under any common law of a trademark.
In some countries, a trademark can be used as a form of property. The right to use it as a property can be gained after registration or use in the marketplace. Other jurisdictions do not recognize trademark rights through use. It is essential to understand the trademark laws of a country before using them.
The Registration Process of Trademarks
In the U.S., the registration process of trademarks involves various steps. The process starts by filing an application in the office of the United States Patent and Trade Mark. The application is reviewed after three months. It is then approved and published by an attorney. The mark is registered after 30 days in case there is no opposition.
The owner of a trademark can maintain the rights through lawful usage of the trademark. The rights can be withdrawn if the mark is inactive for a period of time. Different countries have various mechanisms that dictate the removal of a trademark.