What is a Trademark ?

What is a Trademark?

Simply put, a trademark is a name used by your business that helps your business to differentiate your products or services from the competition.

A trademark will allow your customers to identify the goods and services that you are selling. It can come in the form of a word or phrase such as “Cat and Pillar” or can be in the form of an image. Trademarks in the form of images are commonly known as logos.

In order to prevent others from using your trademark, you should seek to register your trademark. A trademark registration will give you legal rights to the exclusive use of the trademark.

What is the relationship between a trademark and a brand?

The brand of your business represents the identity of the business to the public. It goes beyond the trademark and includes:

  • the overall customer experience
  • the perceived quality of products or services
  • the perceived target customer
  • the perceived business core values
  • the trustworthiness of your business

As you may have realised, the brand deals with the perception of the public, and it therefore takes effort to build a strong brand. However, once a brand becomes established, it will become an invaluable asset to the business.

On the other hand, a trademark is the name of the brand of your business. When a customer sees your trademark, he is reminded of the brand it represents.

As such, when you protect your trademark, you are in fact protecting your brand. If others were allowed to use your trademark, they would be riding on the brand that you have built.

Can a business have more than one trademark?

At a minimum, a business would have its business name as a trademark. For example, “Starbucks” is used as the trademark by Starbucks Corporation as a name of their café services, and their various food and beverages.

However, a business can also have multiple trademarks that function as the names of their various product or service lines, each with their unique brand identity. For instance, Procter and Gamble (P&G) has numerous product lines, such as SK-II, Febreze, Pantene and many more.

Ideally the brands of the various products or services your business provides should be protected with a trademark registration to allow them to grow without hindrance.