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.


Related Topics:

How Do I Register My Trademark, and What is the Process?

What are Common Law Rights?

If I Have Common Law Rights, Then Why Do I Need a Federal Registration?

Should I Do a Trademark Search?


Oppenhuizen Law PLC

625 Kenmoor Ave. SE, Ste. 301
Grand Rapids, MI  49546
United States