Trademarks are often among the most important and valuable assets of a business. A distinctive trademark allows a business to build public goodwill and brand reputation in the goods or services it sells.
- A trademark is any word, phrase, name, symbol, or design (or any combination) that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
- A service mark is any word, name, symbol or design (or any combination) that identifies and distinguishes the services of one party from those of others.
For example, WHOPPER is a word mark for hamburgers, THE MICHELIN design is a logo for tires, TASTE THE RAINBOW is a slogan for Skittles candy, and the COCA-COLA bottle is a package design mark for soft drinks. VISA and AMERICAN EXPRESS are service marks for credit card services. Even a sound, smell, color, color combination, or a shape can be a trademark under certain circumstances. For instance, the color pink has become a well-known trademark for insulation used in building construction, and the sound of certain chimes representing the notes G-E-C has become a trademark for the NBC television company.