Trademark

DEFINITION

A company's identity (name, logo, symbol, design, or other device) used to show that a product or service is made by a particular producer and legally registered so that no other person or firm can use it. Trademarks of successful products and services are jealously guarded by their owners to prevent competitors from imitating them. Registration (in the USA with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; internationally by the World Intellectual Property Organization, under the Madrid Protocol) is indicated by an encircled "R" following the name ("TM" if a claim is made to the mark, or if registration is pending), giving the owner the right to legal redress in case of infringement. The use of a trademark indicates that the maker believes that the quality of the product will enhance his or her standing or goodwill, and a known trademark indicates to a buyer the reputation that is staked on the goods. Imitations of a trademark wrong both the owner of the trademark and the buyer, who is misled as to the source of the product, and such infringements of a trademark are punishable by law. Also spelled "trade mark."Alternatively, a trademark can be any distinctive characteristic associated with a particular person or his works; something particularly noteworthy that a person typically has or does, such as an artist's characteristic style, medium, technique, or subject. Many artists' signatures are equivalent to their trademarks. James A. M. Whistler had a wisp of white hair on his forehead and a butterfly for his signature.Examples of trademarked products include Cor-ten, Duco, Kiln-Sitter, Lucite, Masonite, Nirosta, Plasticine, PlexiGlas, Styrofoam, and Velcro.

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