Trademarks: The Ultimate Guide You Need in 2022


Have you heard of the term Intellectual Property? Anything that is an intangible form of creation yet a valuable mind creation is called Intellectual Property. 

3 Types of Intellectual Property 

  • Patent
  • Trademark
  • Copyright

In this blog, we will focus on everything that you need to know about trademarks. 

Table of Contents (Click to jump to a particular section)

Introduction to Trademarks

What Is A Trademark And What Does It Protect?

Key Important Features Of A Trademark

Inherent v/s Acquired Distinctiveness of Trademarks

What are the types of trademarks?

What makes a trademark?

How does a Trademark work?

Introduction to Trademarks in 2022

How do you instantly identify a Microsoft logo, an apple iPhone, a Domino’s pizza or a Starbucks coffee mug? 

By their unique trademarked logos. 

A logo can be the sole driving force behind building a brand’s image, and this is because people identify a brand/company by looking at its trademark. 

  • While thinking of Jaguar luxury cars, we instantly think of the silver leaping jaguar cat.
  • While thinking of Adidas, we immediately think of the Trefoil Logo.

Yes, all the magic of their unique and eye-catching trademarks has helped these brands to make big in the global markets. 

What Is A Trademark And What Does It Protect?

Trademark is a logo/symbol/phrase/slogan that protects your company’s brand, authenticity, and market image

But how does a trademark protect your brand?

  • By providing a unique face/identity to the goods and services of your company. 
  • By preventing anyone else from using your unique logo or providing goods & services under the same logo. 

Key Important Features Of A Trademark

Key Trademark FeaturesMeaningExamples
DistinctiveThe consumers must be able to distinctively identify the trademark and distinguish it from other marks. There must be no scope of any likelihood of confusion.Mustang Cars
Non-DescriptiveThe trademark should not provide an immediate idea of the goods/services to be sold, their features, quality or components.   Suppose a brand sells cotton t-shirts, then it can’t trademark “Cotton T-Shirts,” i.e., a word that merely describes the product/service cannot be trademarked.    “Cheesy Pizza” is too descriptive, “Domino’s” is suggestive and non-descriptive.
SuggestiveProvide a suggestion or reference to the products or services.E.g. Microsoft (microcomputer software)  
Features of Trademarks

* Generally, descriptive trademarks can’t be registered. But there is one exception. If a person/company has been using the trademark for a very long time, such that:

  • The primary meaning of the mark is lost 
  • The trademark has acquired a strong uniqueness.

For e.g., International Business Machine (IBM).

Inherent v/s Acquired Distinctiveness of Trademarks

The distinctiveness of a trademark can be: Natural/Inherent or Acquired.

inherent-and-secondary-meaning-of-trademarks
Inherent and Secondary Meaning of Trademarks

So, 3 things are clear by now:

  • A trademark is a unique identifier that helps to build a loyal customer base and protect a brand’s market image.
  • Almost all the big brand names have invested heavily in their trademarks.
  • A trademark is not limited to a catchy phrase or attractive logo (McDonald’s) or a slogan (Just Do It – Nike). Audio, smell, and taste as well can be registered as trademarks.

Really?

Yes, there exist more than 10 types of trademarks. The next section contains a complete table of types of trademarks.

What are the types of trademarks?

Types of TrademarksDescriptionRequirements for RegistrationTrademark Examples
Product TrademarkUsed to identify the origin of a product/good and distinguish it from competitors.Unique & distinctive service Non-descriptive No likelihood of confusionStarbucks Levis Adidas Nike
Service TrademarkUsed to identify the origin of a service and distinguish it from competitors.Unique & distinctive service Non-descriptive No likelihood of confusionGoogle Qatar Airways FedEx
Certification TrademarkCertification trademarks certify the nature and origin of the goods and services to which it has been given. It includes: Region or location Materials used Mode of manufacturing Product quality.Standards Exclusivity of use Objectivity Non-discrimination A famous example of a certification mark is the EnergyStar logo on appliances that states that the product meets the established standards.  ISI Trademark FPO (Farmer Producer Organization) Trademark   AG Mark 
Scent/Smell TrademarkAn olfactory or scent trademark is the unique smell capable of identifying a product. Countries like the USA, European Union (EU), Canada, Australia, etc., permit scent trademarks.      Non functionality: Registerable if you prove that the smell is a key identifier for the product with no practical function. Distinctiveness of the smellEucalyptus-scented golf tee- trademarked in Australia. Flowery musk scent (Verizon stores) – trademarked in USA. Piña colada scent to coat ukuleles – trademarked in USA
Shape Trademark3-D Trademarks that protects the shape of the product, brand, logo, label, or tag.The particular product should have a 3-D trademark view. In case the trademark registrar is not satisfied, the applicant will need to provide 5 different views along with describing the shape mark by words.  The shape of zippo lighters. Coca-Cola bottle.
Sound TrademarkNon-conventional trademark where sound helps in uniquely identifying the commercial origin of goods or services.The sound mark can be produced in MP3 format with a graphical representation of its notations. A 30-second MP3 reproduction A visual representation of the sound, like waveform/note sheet/musical notations identifying where the notes lie. A clear description of the sound, e.g., listening to the notes in the sound. Factual distinctiveness and should not be generic in nature.  McDonalds’ classic “I’m Lovin it” sound. Airtel’s signature ringtone Yahoo Yodel Nokia Guitar Sound MGM – Entertainment – Roaring Lion Audi’s heart-beat sound logo.  
Motion Trademarks3-D/moving trademarks having a combination of moving visuals with audio.A textual explanation of the trademark A drawing showing a single point in the movement or a square drawing with maximum 5 freeze frames that shows various movement directions.  Microsoft’s motion trademark.
Pattern TrademarksPatterns that are unique enough to identify the goods or services as originating from a specific brand.Distinctiveness of the pattern, i.e., it should be identifiable in the minds of the consumers with a brand’s goods or services.Repeating hexagonal shapes either printed or stitched on the inner lining of shoe uppers. Repeating patterns of the word DIOR for luxury cosmetics and perfumes.
Color TrademarksParticular shades and hues of a color registered to a particular brand/business.Can be graphically represented Unique and distinctive  Tiffany blue by Tiffany & Co. Target’s Red.
Taste TrademarksTaste or flavor marks able to identify the products by the consumers.  Non-functionality DistinctivenessNo taste marks has been registered yet.
Types of Trademarks

What makes a trademark?

 Everything ranging from:

  • The color scheme
  • Logo
  • Shape (circular/square/rectangle)
  • Slogan length
  • Language
  • Uniqueness

What does a trademark protect?

  • A brand’s market image/reputation by preventing competitors from using a similar or identical trademark.
  • Brand’s goods or services from being copied or sold using a similar trademark name or logo. 
  • Consumers’ confidence in the brand by avoiding the likelihood of confusion. 

Along with the protection from infringement under Trademarks Act, a trademark also provides:

  • A unique identity to the brand.
  • Notice to the consumers about the brand’s trademark and so its goods/services.
  • Exclusive trademark rights to sell the goods or services across the nation.
  • Sue the trademark infringer.
  • Prevent the import of mock goods into the nation. 
  • File for a trademark abroad (having a registered national trademark aggravates the process of registering a trademark in a foreign nation).

How does a Trademark work?

A trademark works by providing the exclusive trademark rights to the trademark owner to initiate a lawsuit against anyone trying to infringe their rights by:

  • Illegally trying to register a similar/identical trademark
  • Selling goods/services under a similar/identical trademark and illegally reaping the revenue benefits from the trademark owner. 

Get Your Brand Trademarked With TMReady

TMReady is your best buddy for any trademark-related services. Whether you want to perform a professional trademark search or register your trademark or keep a continuous watch on your mark for infringement.
Get assistance by our professional trademark attorneys here.


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