Trademark

A word, phrase, logo, symbol, color, sound or smell used by a business to identify a product and distinguish it from those of its competitors. If the business uses the name or logo to identify a service, such as photo copying, it is called a service mark. In practice, the legal protections for trademarks and service marks are identical.

Additional Sources

Answers.com

Insignia or logo that distinguishes one maker's goods from all others; any mark, word, letter, number, design, picture, or combination thereof in any form that is adopted and used by a person to denominate goods that he makes, is affixed to the goods, and is neither a common nor generic name for the goods nor a picture of them, nor is merely descriptive of the goods. Protection from Infringement upon a trademark is afforded by the common-law action for unfair competition.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

A word, name, logo or slogan used by a person selling goods or services to distinguish and identify their goods or services from those of another.

Lawyers.com

A mark that is used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify the origin or ownership of goods and to distinguish them from others and the use of which is protected by law.

Lect Law Library

TRADEMARK OR MARK - A word, a name, a symbol, a device, or a combination of them that indicates the source of goods or services. Distinguishes the products or services of one business from those of others in the same field. The owner/assignee/licensee of a trademark/mark has the right to exclude others from using that trademark/mark by being the first to use it in the marketplace. Rights in a trademark/mark are obtained only through commercial use of the mark. The owner of a trademark/mark has the right to exclude others unless the trademark/mark has been abandoned.

Signs, writings or tickets put upon manufactured goods, to distinguish them from others.

It seems at one time to have been thought that no man acquired a right in a particular mark or stamp. But it was afterwards considered that for one man to use as his own another's name or mark, would be a fraud for which an action would lie. A court of equity will restrain a party from, using the marks of another.

The principle to be extracted, after an examination of these cases, appear to be the following: First, that the first producer or vendor of any article gains no right of property in that article so as to prevent others from manufacturing, producing or vending it.

Secondly, that although any other person may manufacture, produce, and sell any such article, yet he must not, in manner, either by using the same or similar marks, wrappers, labels, or devices, or colorable imitations thereof, or otherwise, hold out to the public that he is manufacturing, producing, or selling the identical article, prepared, manufactured, produced, or sold by the other; that is to say, he may not make use of the name or reputation of the other in order to sell his own preparation.

Thirdly, the right to use or restrain others from using any mark or name of a firm, is in the nature of goodwill, and therefore goes to the surviving or continuing partner in such firm, and the personal representative of a deceased partner has an interest in it.

Fourthly, that courts of equity in these cases only act as auxiliary to the legal right, and to prevent injury, and give a relief by account, when damages at law would be inadequate to the injury received; and they will not interfere by injunction in the first instance, unless a good legal title is shown, and even then they never preclude the parties from trying the right at law, if desired.

Fifthly, if the legal title be so doubtful as not to induce the court to grant the injunction, yet it will put the parties in a position to try the legal right at law, notwithstanding the suit.

Sixthly, that before the party is entitled to relief in equity, he must truly represent his title, and the mode in which he became possessed of the article for the vending of which he claims protection; it being a clear rule of courts of equity not to extend their protection to persons whose case is not founded on truth.

In various countries the law regulates the rights of merchants and manufacturers as to their trade marks with great minuteness.

Legal-Dictionary.org

A word or symbol used to distinguish one corporate product from another. Trademarks are used to protect the genuineness of a product and if they qualify they can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

n. a distinctive design, picture, emblem, logo or wording (or combination) affixed to goods for sale to identify the manufacturer as the source of the product and to distinguish them from goods sold or made by others. Words that merely name the maker (but without particular lettering) or a generic name for the product are not trademarks. While a trade mark may exist from its first use, it is wise to register a trademark with the U. S. Patent and Trade Mark Office to prove its use and ownership, or register it with the Secretary of State in a state for products not in interstate commerce (such as a restaurant). Federal trademarks last as long as they are used and there are up-dated re-registrations. "Use" means placing the mark on a regular basis on goods manufactured and/or sold, and not abandoning the trademark by not placing it on new goods made or sold. Patent law specialists can conduct a search for similar trademarks to avoid the costs of wasting time and money on adopting an existing trademark owned by another. Use of another's trademark (or one that is confusingly similar) is infringement and the basis for a lawsuit for damages for unfair competition and/or a petition for an injunction against the use of the infringing trademark.

Wikipedia

A trademark or trade mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.

A trademark is a type of intellectual property, and typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories.

The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark. However, registration is not required. The owner of a common law trademark may also file suit, but an unregistered mark may be protectable only within the geographical area within which it has been used or in geographical areas into which it may be reasonably expected to expand.

The term trademark is also used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, such as the well known characteristics of celebrities. When a trademark is used in relation to services rather than products, it may sometimes be called a service mark, particularly in the United States.