What is a Trademark?

  • Tom Blackett

Abstract

A trademark is a name, a sign or a symbol which is used to distinguish the products or services of an enterprise from those of others. A trademark can therefore consist of:
  • Words (for example, Coca-Cola, Walkman)

  • Letters (for example, AT&T, RTZ)

  • Numbers (for example, 4711, No. 5)

  • Symbols (for example, The Coca-Cola Dynamic Ribbon device or McDonald’s golden arches)

  • Signatures (for example, those of Johnnie Walker or Ford)

  • Shapes (for example, Toblerone’s distinctive triangular-shaped chocolate bar or in the UK, Jif Lemon’s squeezy plastic lemon)

A trademark can also consist, in some circumstances, of musical jingles or oral phrases and slogans (such as American Express’s ‘Don’t Leave Home Without It’), colours or combination of colours and even smells. In fact, just about anything can be a trademark as long as it performs the key role of distinguishing the products (or services) of one manufacturer from those of others.

Keywords

Clay Aspirin Marketing Cola Monopoly 

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Copyright information

© Tom Blackett 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Blackett
    • 1
  1. 1.Interbrand Group LtdUK

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