What is a Trademark?

By: Salma Benkabbou, Esq.

The Millennial Business Lawyer®

A Trademark is a word, symbol, sound, image or logo that is legally registered with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) that represents a company or a product. When you think of a trademark, think of it as the identifying image or sound of a particular company or product.

A trademark does not only identify products, it also identifies services. A trademark that identifies services is technically considered a service mark but it is still generally referred to as a trademark.

Trademarks are essential because they allow consumers to identify a particular company’s product or services very quickly. It’s much easier for a consumer to see a particular name or logo that identifies the “goodwill” of the product they are going to purchase or that of the services they are about to receive.

What is goodwill you might ask?

A company spends lots of time and money perfecting their products or their services and ensuring that the quality of the products or services on the market is up to their standards. The value of the quality that is generated by the company is called goodwill. The goodwill of a company is what separates it from its competitors.

For example, a consumer may want to purchase a sneaker with the brand Nike as opposed to a sneaker with no brand recognition. Nike has generated a lot of goodwill in the high quality products that they produce.

A consumer will pay more for a Nike brand sneaker than a sneaker with a brand that has not yet generated their goodwill. As you can see trademarks are essential for business growth and brand protection.