What is a Trademark?
A trademark identifies a source of goods or services. A trademark can be a word, phrase, logo, icon, sound, or even a scent.
It must be distinctive in order to function as a trademark. Generic terms can never function as a trademark. Trademarks that are merely descriptive of the goods or services can only be enforceable as a trademark after acquiring secondary meaning to consumers by long and exclusive use of that trademark.
A distinctive trademark becomes enforceable simply by using it, and this is known as a common law trademark.
A trademark owner can also formalize their rights in the trademark by registering it with a state in which the trademark is used, or preferably with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
How Do I Register My Trademark, and What is the Process?
If I Have Common Law Rights, Then Why Do I Need a Federal Registration?
Should I Do a Trademark Search?
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