Trademarks identify and distinguish the source of products. Likewise, service marks identify and distinguish the source of services. The law is virtually the same for trademarks and service marks and, here, the discussion of "trademarks" or "marks" refer to both. Trademarks allow customers and potential customers to more easily find or know what company is responsible for a product or service. Federal and state trademark laws allow a company to prevent others from using similarly confusing marks.
Brand owners commonly use names, slogans and logos as trademarks. Depending on the size and type of business, a brand owner can have a variety of different trademarks. A business typically uses a name
that serves as an overall trademark used to identify its products or services. For example, "Apple" is a trademark for Apple Inc. and used as a source identifier for a wide range of products. Apple's many computer devices and software applications all feature the "Apple" trademark name, which serves to identify the company as the source of those products. In addition to using the company's name as a general trademark for all of its products, brand owners often use trademarks to identify its particular products. For instance, Apple has individual product trademark names such as "iPhone," "iPad," and "MacBook" that are just as strong as its umbrella "Apple" trademark.
are also protectable as trademarks. Slogans are a way for a company to more explicitly communicate the qualities, characteristics or a description of its business to the public. Apple's "Think Different" slogan is a good example of this.Logos
are another way to identify a product's source. So, in addition to the name "Apple" and individual product names, Apple affixes to all of its products the silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it. This type of non-verbal trademark is a powerful way to visually convey a products source and the qualities and characteristics associated with it.
of words can also function as a trademark. The blue, red, yellow, and green coloring of Google and Gmail has its own source identifying significance apart from the words themselves. If another web search or email provider were to use a word other than Google as a trademark, but rendered it in a similar blue, red, and yellow combination, that could be considered similarly confusing to Google's trademark.
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