What is a trademark?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

Trademark, or trade mark, is defined as a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from the goods or services of other companies. This sign is typically a name, slogan, symbol, or a combination of these elements, but shape, sounds, smells, and other characteristics can also be used as distinguishing signs.

From the customers' perspective, a trademark signals a single source of goods and services. From the standpoint of trademark holders, a trademark protects their intellectual property from infringement.

In practical terms, trademarks are closely related to branding, as all the elements mentioned above are designed to distinguish a brand from its competition and build customer trust. However, while branding belongs to the field of marketing, the term trademark is established under intellectual property law, providing legal protection against trademark infringement. Very simply put, trademark law concerns itself with the question of where one trademark owner's protection ends and another one's begins while also avoiding potential consumer confusion.

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