Trademarks and Their Protection

What is a Trademark?
A trademark is something that distinguishes your product from others in the market place. A trademark can be:

  • A word or name (e.g. Coca Cola)
  • A logo or symbol (e.g. the four rings in an Audi car)
  • A design (e.g. the tick for Nike or the Coca Cola classic bottle)
  • A slogan (e.g. ‘Just Do It’ for Nike)

It can also be a letter, number, sound, smell, shape, picture or type of packaging. A trademark can be a combination of all these things. The objective of a trademark is to allow the business that owns the trademark to distinguish itself, its products and services from others.

In the USA, protection is provided to registered trade marks through the Trademarks Act ("the Act"). The term "trademark" is defined in the Act as meaning "any sign capable of being represented graphically and distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another person".

A "sign" is defined in the Act as including "a brand, colour, device, heading, label, letter, name, numeral, shape, signature, smell, sound, tast...

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