What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design or combination of words, phrases,
symbols or designs that identifies the goods and services of one party and distinguishes them from those of
As well as identifying the goods and services with which it is associated, a mark
serves as a guarantee of quality. Over the years, the practical definition of a trademark has expanded
continually. Initially only words, numbers and designs were considered to be able to function as marks. Over
the years, however, the definition of a trademark has been expanded by judicial decisions to include:
configurations of the goods themselves, containers for the goods, colors,
fragrances, decor and ambience (for restaurants).
What is a service mark?
While trademarks and service marks are the best known types, there are also several
Trademarks are used on products (goods) (TASTYCAKES, IBM computers).
Service Marks are used to identify services (BURGER KING restaurant, WALT DISNEY WORLD amusement park).
Collective Membership Marks identify members of an organization, association or union (PHI BETA KAPPA honorary
fraternity, SAG screen actors guild).
Collective Trademark/Service Marks are used to identify the products or services of all of the members of an
organization (BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU for information services relating to business practices).
Certification Marks identify marks that are used by a party other than its owner to
certify quality, origin, material, or mode of manufacture of goods or services. These marks also show that
the product or services are manufactured or provided by members of a union or other organization (GOOD
HOUSEKEEPING adherence to specific standards).