WHAT ARE TRADEMARKS AND WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
Welcome back this is Andrei Mincov with Trademark Factory and in this video you will learn what trademarks are and why we need them
Here is my definition of a trademark. A trademark is a feature unrelated to the characteristics of your products or services which allows your business to help customers and consumers distinguish your products and services from the identical or similar products and services of everyone else.
I promise that it will become clearer in just a moment, but for now let me simply say that again: A trademark is a feature unrelated to the characteristics of your products or services which allows your business to help customers and consumers distinguish your products and services from the identical or similar products and services of everyone else.
Trademarks can take many forms.
The traditionally recognized forms of trademarks are:
- word trademarks (either for the name of a product or a service, or a slogan or a tagline); and
- design trademarks (for logos).
The word trademarks can be comprised of invented words (like Xerox or iPad) or dictionary words (like Apple or Windows).
Recently, many jurisdictions (and Canada among them) have started allowing registration of some of the so-called non-conventional trademarks such as
- color trademarks (such as the magenta color of T-Mobile or the red soles of Louboutin shoes);
- sound trademarks (such as the Nokia tune or the roaring lion used in the beginning of every MGM movie);
- shape trademarks (such as the Coca-Cola bottle);
- animated trademarks;
- hologram trademarks;
- smell trademarks;
- taste trademarks; and
- texture trademarks.
Regardless of the form of a trademark, its function is to distinguish products and services of one business from identical or similar products or services of another business. In legal speak, this is called “distinctiveness.”
For example, hundreds of fast food places sell burgers with very similar recipes. The function of a trademark is not to make customers choose a burger over a pizza. The function of a trademark is to make customers who already decided that they want a burger to choose a particular one. Yours!
In this sense, the function of the trademark is to address the question “which?”, rather than “what?”
So if you have a successful burger, you want to make sure that consumers never confuse it with other burgers. How do you do it? You mark the exterior of your restaurant with your trademark, you come up with a unique name for your burger, you place your trademarks everywhere in the restaurant, including menus and the uniform, and you make sure you place your trademarks on the packaging of the burger when you wrap it up for the customer.
So to sum things up, the function of a trademark is to distinguish your products and services from identical or similar products and services of others.
When you understand what the function of a trademark is, it becomes even more important to understand what it is NOT. And in the next video, I’ll tell you about the commonly misunderstood difference between trademarks and trade names.
And if you have any questions, please feel free to call me, email me, or go to the website at TrademarkFactory.com or read my book The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Intellectual Property.
Thank you for watching. Talk to you soon.
Watch our other FAQs or leave your comments below!
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Watch our other FAQs:Introduction — What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know About Trademarks
Trademarks vs. Trade Names
What Cannot Be Protected as a Trademark
Trademarks Don't Give Absolute Monopoly Over Words and Images
Registered ® vs. Unregistered ™ Trademarks
7 Benefits of Trademark Registration
When Should You Register Your Trademarks
What is the Trademark Registration Process
Trademark Tips & Tricks