What Trademarks Are And How They Work

A trademark is any device (generally a name, but you can register all sorts of trademarks) that identifies a product or service with the source of the product or service. The process of registering a trademark is the process of reporting to the United States Patent and Trademark Office that you claim exclusive use of the device for your goods and services.

Types and examples of devices that can be registered as trademarks include:

1. Names – Famous examples of registered trademark names include

  1. Kleenex, which is a trademark for tissues
  2. Coca-Cola, which is a registered trademark for a soft drink
  3. Remington, which is a registered trademark for firearms and ammunition

2. Sounds

  1. The ringtone of the Nokia phone is a trademark registered for telecommunications equipment
  2. The opening sounds of Microsoft Windows are a registered trademark for software.

3. Colors

  1. “Tiffany Blue” is, as every woman knows, a registered trademark for jewelry.
  2. A particular shade of brown is a registered trademark for shipping. This trademark belongs to UPS.

4. Drawings

  1. A circle divided into three equal slices is the registered trademark of the Mercedes automobile.
  2. The Krupp company is identified by the registered trademark of three interlocking rings.

5. Package shapes

  1. The most famous package shape is probably the inverse-oval bottle used by Coca-Cola, a registered trademark that you can see all over the world.

6. Sculptural representations

  1. Some universities register as trademarks the sculptural reliefs that are used on their class rings. A great example of this is the ring of Texas A&M University, for which there are at least 3-4 registered trademarks.

At the end of the day, all of these trademarks work by identifying particular goods and services as being produced by a particular manufacturer and possessing particular quality. They are registered to protect the producer of the goods and services from having someone else adopt the device and trade on his good name.

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