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. Throughout this book, the term “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.
For example, WHOPPER is a word mark for hamburgers, THE MICHELIN design is a logo for tires, TASTE THE RAINBOW is a slogan for 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.