What is a Trademark?

You’ve probably heard the word “trademark,” but to fully enjoy the business-boosting effects of trademark protection, it is crucial to really understand what your trademarks mean for your business.

A trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device used to identify and distinguish a mark owner’s goods and to indicate the source of the goods. Similarly, a service mark is used to identify, distinguish, and indicate the source of a service.

A clear example is a business’s name: Northwest Business Law Group is the name that we use to distinguish our firm from others and to indicate the source of our legal services. If another firm were to start marketing itself under the same name, it would undermine the reputation we’ve earned with our clients. In addition to this basic protection, “trade dress” protection can apply to a variety of product or service attributes, from unique restaurant décor to the color of a particular product (Does pink insulation ring a bell?).

Getting customers to know and recognize your company’s name should be a primary goal of every entrepreneur. Once you’ve developed a strong, recognizable, and reputable brand, your product or service begins to market itself. When customers see a brand that they know and trust, they are much more likely to choose that brand.

Your unique brand and the trust your customers have developed in your brand are some youre business’s most valuable assets. Trademarks, service marks, and trade dress are the law’s way of making sure that the effort you’ve put in to develop your brand is protected from infringement.

Exploring the aspects of your brand, from your name, to your logo, to the way you’ve designed your product, then, is a key step in developing your business. If you want your brand to be the one that customers automatically choose, understanding and protecting your trademarks is indispensible.

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