Types of Trademarks


Types of Trademarks

There are several types of trademarks that may receive protection under the Lanham Act. First‚ a common trademark is a word‚ name‚ phrase‚ logo‚ or symbol used to identify the source of products and distinguish those products from others. See What is a Trademark. In addition‚ service marks‚ collective marks‚ certification marks‚ trade names‚ and trade dress also fall under the broad heading of trademark protection.

Service Marks

Whereas trademarks identify the source of goods‚ service marks denote the source of services. A business may utilize a service mark to refer to any commercial service from pet grooming to legal representation. A well-known example of a service mark is “Geek Squad‚” which identifies a national computer repair and troubleshooting company. Though service marks are technically distinct from trademarks‚ they receive the same protection and have similar requirements for registration. To achieve trademark status‚ rather than placing products bearing the trademark into the stream of commerce‚ the trademark holder must offer services‚ using the service mark as an identifier‚ to be able to obtain protection.

Collective Marks

A collective mark is a trademark used to indicate membership in an organization‚ association‚ or union. For example‚ the collective mark CPA indicates the Society of Certified Public Accountants and their members. A certified public accountant can use the CPA mark to express to others that she is a member of this society and is therefore qualified as an accountant. In addition‚ an accountant can distinguish his services from one who has not qualified for membership in the Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Certification Marks

A certification mark is a word or symbol that indicates that a product or service has been approved by or meets the standards or qualifications of a certifying organization or association. A certification mark may be issued by an organization to indicate geographical origin‚ quality‚ type or process of manufacture‚ or other attributes. Examples of certification marks include Washington Apples‚ Certified Organic‚ Fair Trade‚ and the Cotton logo.

Trade Name

Rather than identifying a certain product or service‚ a trade name is designed to identify the company as a whole. A corporation or business adopts a specific trade name by using such a name to identify their business‚ perhaps by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) form or incorporating within their jurisdiction. A company may have a particular trade name and manufacture a variety of products each bearing different trademarks. For example‚ “Proctor & Gamble” is the trade name of a large company that holds many trademarks including Oral-B. “Church & Dwight” serves as a trade name for the company that produces products bearing the Arm & Hammer trademark. Generally trademark applications should be filed for trade names just as they should for trademarks.

Trade Dress

Trade dress is the overall design‚ appearance‚ and aesthetic attributes of a product’s packaging. While functional designs are covered under patent law‚ to receive trade dress protection‚ the design must be non-functional and purely aesthetic. Trade dress can encompass a variety of designs from the packaging or wrapping of food items to the interior and exterior design of restaurants. In order to obtain protection‚ trade dress requires secondary meaning. See Trade Dress. For the distinction between registered and unregistered trademarks‚ see How to Trademark. You may also see design patents under Types of Patents.

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