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|Intellectual property law|
A trademark, trade mark, or ®  is a distinctive sign of some kind which is used by a business to uniquely identify itself and its products and services to consumers, and to distinguish the business and its products or services from those of other businesses. A trademark is a type of industrial property which is distinct from other forms of intellectual property.
Conventionally, a trademark comprises 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 term trademark is also used informally to refer to any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, particularly the well known characteristics of celebrities. Such trademarks can be a style of haircut (Elvis Presley's distinctive ducktail), articles of clothing or accessories (Liberace's flamboyant costumes and jewelry or Elton John's oversized sunglasses), facial hair (Groucho Marx's mustache), or even breast size (Dolly Parton and Pamela Anderson).
The essential function of a trademark is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, such that a trademark, properly called, indicates source or serves as a badge of origin. The use of a trademark in this way is known as trademark use, and a trademark owner seeks to enforce its rights or interests in a trademark by preventing unauthorised trademark use.
It is important to note that trademark rights generally arise out of the use and/or registration (see below) of a mark in connection only with a specific type or range of products or services. Although it may sometimes be possible to take legal action to prevent the use of a mark in relation to products or services outside this range, this does not mean that trademark law prevents the use of that mark by the general public. A common word, phrase, or other sign can only be removed from the public domain to the extent that a trademark owner is able to maintain exclusive rights over that sign in relation to certain products or services, assuming there are no other trademark objections.
Terminology and symbols
Terms such as "mark", "brand" and "logo" are sometimes used interchangeably with "trademark". However, the terms "brands" and "branding" raise distinct conceptual issues and are generally more appropriate for use in a marketing or advertising context.
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. Other specialized types of trademark include certification marks, collective trade marks and defensive trade marks. A trademark which is popularly used to describe a product or service (rather than to distinguish the product or services from those of third parties) is sometimes known as a genericized trademark. If such a mark becomes synonymous with that product or service to the extent that the trademark owner can no longer enforce its proprietary rights, the mark has become generic.
As any sign which is capable of performing the essential trademark function may qualify as a trademark, the trademark concept extends to include a range of non-conventional signs such as shapes (ie. three-dimensional trademarks), sounds, smells, moving images (eg. signs denoting movement, motion or animation), taste, and perhaps even texture. Although the extent to which non-conventional trademarks can be protected or even recognised varies considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, shape marks and sound marks are examples of non-conventional marks which are in the process of migrating out of this category.
The ™ symbol may be used when trademark rights are claimed in relation to a mark, but the mark has not been registered with the government trade marks office of a particular country or jurisdiction, while the ® is used to indicate that the mark has been so registered. It is not mandatory to use either symbol, although the force of convention is such that the symbols are widely used around the world. However, in various jurisdictions it is unlawful to use the ® symbol in association with a mark when that mark is not registered.
The HTML entity for the ™ symbol is ™, while the HTML entity for ® is ®. On a Microsoft Windows computer with American keyboard layout, alt+0153 types ™, while alt+0174 makes ®. On Macintosh computers, opt+2 for ™ and opt+r for ®, and their Unicode encodings are 2122 in hexadecimal/8482 in decimal for ™ and 00AE in hexadecimal/174 in decimal for ®.
Either symbol is typically placed in the top left- or right-hand corner of a mark. Unregistered trademark rights may be enforced by way of a lawsuit for passing off, while the exclusive rights which attach to a registered mark can be enforced by way of an action for trademark infringement.
The ™ symbol is sometimes used in hacker slang to signify the importance of a concept, such as Real OS(TM) or Real Programmer(TM). It may also carry the connotation "so-called", as in the political neologism "Religion of Peace™"
Establishing trademark rights — use and registration
The law considers a trademark to be a form of property. Proprietary rights in relation to a trademark may be established through actual use in the marketplace, or through registration of the mark with the trade marks office (or "trademarks registry") of a particular jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions, trademark rights can be established through either or both means. Certain jurisdictions generally do not recognise trademarks rights arising through use (e.g. China). If trademark owners do not hold registrations for their marks in such jurisdictions, the extent to which they will be able to enforce their rights through trademark infringement proceedings will therefore be limited.
A registered trademark confers a bundle of exclusive rights upon the registered owner, including the right to exclusive use of the mark in relation to the products or services for which it is registered. The law in most jurisdictions also allows the owner of a registered trademark to prevent unauthorised use of the mark in relation to products or services which are similar to the "registered" products or services, and in certain cases, prevent use in relation to entirely dissimilar products or services.
Once trademark rights are established in a particular jurisdiction, these rights are generally only enforceable in that jurisdiction, a quality which is sometimes known as territoriality. However, there is a range of international trademark laws and systems which facilitate the protection of trademarks in more than one jurisdiction (see International trade mark laws below).
Registrability and distinctive character
A trademark may be eligible for registration, or registrable, if amongst other things it performs the essential trademark function, and has distinctive character. Registrability can be understood as a continuum, with "inherently distinctive" marks at one end, "generic" and "descriptive" marks with no distinctive character at the other end, and "suggestive" and "arbitrary" marks lying between these two points.
- A fanciful / inherently distinctive trademark is prima facie registrable, and comprises an entirely invented or "fanciful" sign. For example, "Kodak" had no meaning before it was adopted and used as a trademark in relation to goods, whether photographic goods or otherwise. Invented marks are neologisms which will not previously have been found in any dictionary.
- An arbitrary trademark is usually a common word which is used in a meaningless context (e.g. "Apple" for computers). Such marks consist of words or images which have some dictionary meaning before being adopted as trademarks, but which are used in connection with products or services unrelated to that dictionary meaning. For example, Salty would be an arbitrary mark if it used in connection with refrigerators, e.g. Salty Refrigerators, as the term "salt" has no particular connection with such products.
- A suggestive trademark tends to indicate the nature, quality, or a characteristic of the products or services in relation to which it is used, but does not describe this characteristic, and requires imagination on the part of the consumer to identify the characteristic. Suggestive marks invoke the consumer’s perceptive imagination. An example of a suggestive mark might be Salty used in connection with sailing gear.
- A descriptive mark is a term with a dictionary meaning which is used in connection with products or services directly related to that meaning. An example might be Salty used in connection with saltine crackers or anchovies. Such terms are not registrable unless it can be shown that distinctive character has been established in the term through extensive use in the marketplace (see further below).
- A generic term is the common name for the products or services in connection with which it is used, such as "salt" when used in connection with sodium chloride. A generic term is not capable of serving the essential trademark function of distinguishing the products or services of a business from the products or services of other businesses, and therefore cannot be afforded any legal protection. This is because there has to be some term which may generally be used by anyone—including other manufacturers—to refer to a product without using some organization's proprietary trademark. Marks which become generic after losing distinctive character are known as genericized trademarks.
It can be seen from the examples above that the distinctive character of a term is closely related to the products or services in relation to which the term is used.
A general method for assessing the distinctive character of a mark is to consider a consumer's reaction to a mark. The mark may only be inherently registrable if the consumer has never encountered the mark before. On the other hand, the mark is unlikely to be inherently registrable if it informs her about any characteristic of the relevant products or services (eg. whether they are delicious, large, spicy, black or sweet, in the case of fruit). In any other case the mark may not be registrable.
Another example of a descriptive mark would be a geographical word or phrase that merely indicates the origin of the product or service. For example, Houston based ice cream might find that the name "Houston ice cream" is denied trademark protection on the grounds that the word Houston is merely descriptive. However, they might have better luck with the name "North Pole ice cream". In the latter case, although North Pole is a geographical location, the ice cream is not actually made at the North Pole, and no reasonable person would assume that the phrase North Pole is literally descriptive.
Therefore marks which identify or describe a product or service, or which are in common use, or which are used as geographical indications, generally cannot be registered as trademarks, and remain in the public domain for use by anyone. For example, a generic term such as "apple", or descriptive terms such as "red" or "juicy" could not be registered in relation to apples.
Primary consideration in the selection and use of trademarks should be given to marks which are inherently distinctive, as they possess the strongest distinctive character and do not require evidence of use to establish acquired distinctiveness. A fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive term can be inherently distinctive and registrable without proof of acquired distinctiveness. Although these categories are most easily applied in relation to trademarks comprising words, the same general principles are applied in relation to all kinds of trademarks. For example, a pine tree shape is descriptive when used on pine-scented products.
Although a trademark which lacks distinctive character is not prima facie registrable, most jurisdictions will permit registration if the trademark owner can demonstrate (whether through a licensee or otherwise) that the public exclusively associates the mark with a particular commercial origin or source (ie. the trademark owner or its business). In such cases the mark will be registrable on the basis that this association evidences the distinctive character of the mark as a matter of fact.
If the association is proven the mark is said to exhibit or possess acquired distinctiveness in the European Union and Commonwealth jurisdictions such as Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, and secondary meaning in the United States. Whether a mark is registrable on the basis of acquired distinctiveness is a question of degree determined by the extent to which the mark has been used in the jurisdiction where registration is sought. In practice, trademark owners rely on evidence of use (eg. sales figures and promotional expenditure) and tools such as consumer surveys to show that consumers chiefly associate an otherwise non-distinctive mark with the trademark owner and its products or services.
In the United States, if a trademark has been used for a continuous period of at least five years after the date of registration, the right to use the mark and the registration may become "incontestable" (eg. invulnerable to cancellation for non-use, but not for becoming generic). In such cases the USPTO checks and confirm whether the request for incontestability meets formality requirements, but whether a registration is incontestable at law can only be determined during proceedings involving the registration.
Signs excluded from registration
Most jurisdictions totally exclude certain types of terms and symbols from registration as trademarks, including the emblems, insignia and flags of nations, certain organisations and the modern Olympic Games, marks which are deceptive as to the origin of their associated products or services (eg. as to their geographic origin), and marks comprising signs which are contrary to accepted principles of morality (eg. marks which are obscene). One high-profile example of the latter comprised a court challenge in England to the FCUK trademark used by clothing company French Connection UK.
Maintaining trademark rights — abandonment and genericide
Trademarks rights must be maintained through actual use of the trademark. These rights will diminish over time if a mark is not actively used. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to removal from the register after a certain period of time.
All jurisdictions with a mature trademark registration system provide a mechanism for removal in the event of such non use, which is usually a period of either three or five years. The intention to use a trade mark can be proven by a wide range of acts as shown in the Wooly Bull and Ashton v Harlee cases.
In the U.S., failure to use a trademark for this period of time, aside from the corresponding impact on product quality, will result in abandonment of the mark, whereby any party may use the mark. An abandoned mark is not irrevocably in the public domain, but may instead be re-registered by any party which has re-established exclusive and active use, and must be associated or linked with the original mark owner. Further, if a court rules that a trademark has become "generic" through common use (such that the mark no longer performs the essential trademark function and the average consumer no longer considers that exclusive rights attach to it), the corresponding registration may also be ruled invalid.
For example, the Bayer company's trademark "Aspirin" has been ruled generic in the United States, so other companies may use that name for acetylsalicylic acid as well (although it is still a trademark in Canada). Xerox for copiers and Band-Aid for adhesive bandages are both trademarks which are at risk of succumbing to genericide, which the respective trademark owners actively seek to prevent. In order to prevent marks becoming generic, trademark owners often contact those who appear to be using the trademark incorrectly, from web page authors to dictionary editors, and request that they cease the improper usage. The proper use of a trademark means using the mark as an adjective, not as a noun or a verb, though for certain trademarks, use as nouns and, less commonly, verbs is common. For example, Adobe sent e-mails to many web authors using the term "photoshopped" telling them that they should only use the term "modified by Adobe® Photoshop® software." VeriPic likewise sends e-mails to reviewers using the term "VeriPic your digital photos" telling them that the proper usage of the term is "protected by the VeriPic® Digital Photo Lab® secured photo database software." Xerox has also purchased print advertisements declaring that "you cannot 'xerox' a document, but you can copy it on a Xerox Brand copying machine." Such efforts may or may not be successful in preventing genericism in the long run, which depends less on the mark owner's efforts and more on how the public actually perceives and uses the mark. In fact, legally it is more important that the trademark holder visibly and actively seems to attempt to prevent its trademark from becoming generic, regardless of real success.
Enforcing trademark rights
The extent to which a trademark owner may prevent unauthorized use of trademarks which are the same as or similar to its trademark depends on various factors such as whether its trademark is registered, the similarity of the trademarks involved, the similarity of the products and/or services involved, and whether the owner’s trademark is well known.
If a trademark has not been registered, some jurisdictions (especially Common Law countries) offer protection for the business reputation or goodwill which attaches to unregistered trade marks through the tort of passing off. Passing off may provide a remedy in a scenario where a business has been trading under an unregistered trade mark for many years, and a rival business starts using the same or a similar mark.
If a trademark has been registered, then it is much easier for the trademark owner to demonstrate its trademark rights and to enforce these rights through an infringement action. Unauthorised use of a registered trade mark need not be intentional in order for infringement to occur, although damages in an infringement lawsuit will generally be greater if there was an intention to deceive.
For trademarks which are considered to be well known, infringing use may occur where the use occurs in relation to products or services which are not the same as or similar to the products or services in relation to which the owner's mark is registered.
Wrongful or groundless threats of infringement
Various jurisdictions have laws which are designed to prevent trademarks' owners from making wrongful threats of trademark infringement action against other parties. These laws are intended to prevent large or powerful companies from intimidating or harassing smaller companies.
Where one party makes a threat to sue another for trademark infringement, but does not have a genuine basis or intention to carry out that threat, or does not carry out the threat at all within a certain period, the threat may itself become a basis for legal action.
Trademark law is designed to fulfill the public policy objective of consumer protection, by preventing the public from being misled as to the origin or quality of a product or service. By identifying the commercial source of products and services, trademarks facilitate identification of products and services which meet the expectations of consumers as to quality and other characteristics.
Trademarks may also serve as an incentive for manufacturers, providers or suppliers to consistently provide quality products or services in order to maintain their business reputation. Furthermore, if a trademark owner does not maintain quality control and adequate supervision in relation to the manufacture and provision of products or services supplied by a licensee, such “naked licensing” will eventually adversely impact on the owner’s rights in the trademark.
Comparison with patents, designs and copyright
See also: Functionality doctrine
While trademark law seeks to protect indications of the commercial source of products or services, patent law generally seeks to protect new and useful inventions, and registered designs law generally seeks to protect the look or appearance of a manufactured article. Trademarks, patents and designs collectively form a subset of intellectual property known as industrial property because they are often created and used in an industrial or commercial context.
By comparison, copyright law generally seeks to protect original literary, artistic and other creative works.
Although intellectual property laws such as these are theoretically distinct, more than one type may afford protection to the same article. For example, the particular design of a bottle may qualify for copyright protection as a nonutilitarian [sculpture], or for trademark protection based on its shape, or the 'trade dress' appearance of the bottle as a whole may be protectable. Titles and character names from books or movies may also be protectable as trademarks while the works from which they are drawn may qualify for copyright protection as a whole.
Drawing these distinctions is necessary but often challenging for the courts and lawyers, especially in jurisdictions such as the United States, where patents and copyrights will eventually expire into the public domain but trademarks do not. Unlike patents and copyrights, which in theory are granted for one-off fixed terms, trademarks remain valid as long as the owner actively uses and defends them and maintains their registrations with the applicable jurisdiction's trade marks office. This often involves payment of a periodic renewal fee.
As a trademark must be used in order to maintain rights in relation to that mark, a trademark can be 'abandoned' or its registration can be cancelled or revoked if the mark is not continuously used. By comparison, patents and copyrights cannot be 'abandoned' and a patent holder or copyright owner can generally enforce their rights without taking any particular action to maintain the patent or copyright. Additionally, patent holders and copyright owners may not necessarily need to actively police their rights. However, a failure to bring a timely infringement suit or action against a known infringer may give the defendant a defense of implied consent or estoppel when suit is finally brought.
A trademark is diluted when the use of similar or identical trademarks in other non-competing markets means that the trademark in and of itself will lose its capacity to signify a single source. In other words, unlike ordinary trademark law, dilution protection extends to trademark uses that do not confuse consumers regarding who has made a product. Instead, dilution protection law aims to protect sufficiently strong trademarks from losing their singular association in the public mind with a particular product, perhaps imagined if the trademark were to be encountered independently of any product (e.g., just the word Pepsi spoken, or on a billboard).
Sale, transfer and licensing of trademarks
In various jurisdictions a trademark may be sold with or without the underlying goodwill which subsists in the business associated with the mark. However, this is not the case in the United States, where the courts have held that this would "be a fraud upon the public". In the U.S., trademark registration can therefore only be sold and assigned if accompanied by the sale of an underlying asset. Examples of assets whose sale would ordinarily support the assignment of a mark include the sale of the machinery used to produce the goods that bear the mark, or the sale of the corporation (or subsidiary) that produces the trademarked goods.
Most jurisdictions provide for the use of trademarks to be licensed to third parties. The licensor (usually the trademark owner) must monitor the quality of the goods being produced by the licensee to avoid the risk of trademark being deemed abandoned by the courts. A trademark license should therefore include appropriate provisions dealing with quality control, whereby the licensee provides warranties as to quality and the licensor has rights to inspection and monitoring.
Trademarks and Domain Names
The advent of the Domain Name System has led to attempts by trademark holders to enforce their rights over domain names that are similar or identical to their existing trademarks, particularly by seeking control over the domain names at issue. As with dilution protection, enforcing trademark rights over domain name owners involves protecting a trademark outside the obvious context of its consumer market, because domain names are global and not limited by goods or service.
This conflict was more easily resolved when the domain name user actually used his website to compete with the trademark owner. Cybersquatting, however, involves no such competition, but instead an unlicensed user registering the trademark as a domain name in order to pressure a payoff (or other benefit) from the lawful mark owner. Typosquatters—those registering common misspellings of trademarks as domain names—have also been targeted successfully in trademark infringement suits.
This clash of the new technology with preexisting trademark rights resulted in several high profile decisions as the courts of many countries tried to coherently address the issue (and not always successfully) within the framework of existing trademark law. As the website itself was not the product being purchased, there was no actual consumer confusion, and so initial interest confusion was a concept applied instead. Infringing domain names were analogized to a sign identifying one store but falsely placed in front of another, in the hopes that customers will in the end not care that they were duped or will at least give up on trying to reach the right store.
Most courts particularly frowned on cybersquatting, and found that it was itself a sufficiently commercial use (i.e., "trafficking" in trademarks) to reach into the area of trademark infringement. Most jurisdictions have since amended their trademark laws to address domain names specifically, and to provide explicit remedies against cybersquatters.
This international legal change has also led to the creation of ICANN Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) and other dispute policies for specific countries (such as Nominet UK's DRS) which attempt to streamline the process of resolving who should own a domain name (without dealing with other infringement issues such as damages). This is particularly desirable to trademark owners when the domain name registrant may be in another country or even anonymous.
Registrants of domain names also sometimes wish to register the domain names themselves (e.g., "XYZ.COM") as trademarks for perceived advantages, such as an extra bulwark against their domain being hijacked, and to avail themselves of such remedies as confusion or passing off against other domain holders with confusingly similar or intentionally misspelled domain names.
As with other trademarks, the domain name will not be subject to registration unless the proposed mark is actually used to identify the registrant's goods or services to the public, rather than simply being the location on the Internet where the applicant's web site appears. Amazon.com is a prime example of a protected trademark for a domain name central to the public's identification of the company and its products.
Terms which are not protectable by themselves, such as a generic term or a merely descriptive term that has not acquired secondary meaning, do not become registrable when a Top-Level Domain Name (e.g. dot-COM) is appended to it. Examples of such domain names ineligible for trademark protection would be "SOFT.COM" (merely descriptive when applied to a product such as facial tissue), or "BANK.COM" (generic for banking services).
International trade mark laws
It is important to note that although there are systems which facilitate the filing, registration or enforcement of trade mark rights in more than one jurisdiction on a regional or global basis (eg. the Madrid and CTM systems, see further below), it is currently not possible to file and obtain a single trade mark registration which will automatically apply around the world. Trade mark laws are territorial in nature and generally apply only in the applicable country or jurisdiction, a quality which is sometimes referred to as ‘territoriality’.
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
The inherent limitations of the territorial application of trade mark laws have been mitigated by various intellectual property treaties. One such treaty is the WTO (formerly GATT) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ('TRIPs'). Amongst other things, TRIPs generally requires that the trade mark laws of member jurisdictions are compatible with each other, a quality which is known as ‘harmonisation’. For example, Article 15(1) of TRIPs provides a definition for ‘sign’ which is used as or forms part of the definition of a 'trade mark' contained in the trade mark legislation of many jurisdictions around the world.
The Madrid system for the international registration of marks
Foremost amongst the systems which facilitate registration of trade marks in multiple jurisdictions is the 'Madrid system', which provides a centrally administered system of obtaining a bundle of single jurisdiction trade mark registrations based on an ‘international registration’.
In basic terms, the primary advantage of the Madrid system is that it allows a trademark owner to obtain trademark protection in any or all member states by filing one application in one jurisdiction with one set of fees, and make any changes (eg. changes of name or address) and renew registration across all applicable jurisdictions through a single administrative process.
Community Trade Mark system
The Community Trade Mark system is the supranational trade mark system which applies in the European Union, whereby registration of a trade mark with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (i.e.. OHIM, the trade marks office of the European Union), leads to a registration which is effective throughout the EU as a whole. The CTM system is therefore said to be unitary in character, in that a CTM registration applies indivisibly across all European Union member states. However, the CTM system did not replace the national trade mark registration systems; the CTM system and the national systems continue to operate in parallel to each other. See also European Union trade mark law.
Trade mark law in different countries
For the trade mark law which applies in a selection of other countries and jurisdictions, please refer to the following articles.
- Australian trademark law
- Canadian trademark law
- European Union trade mark law
- Hong Kong trademark law
- People's Republic of China's trademark law
- United Kingdom trade mark law
- United States trademark law
- Malaysia trademark law
Non-standard trade marks
- Colour trademarks
- Hologram trademarks
- Motion trademarks
- Shape trademarks
- Smell trademarks
- Sound trademarks
- List of fictional brands
- ^ The styling of "trademark" as a single word is predominantly used in the United States, while the two word styling "trade mark" is used in many other countries around the world, including the European Union and Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth jurisdictions (although Canada officially uses "trade-mark" pursuant to the Trade-mark Act, "trade mark" is also commonly used).
- ^ In the European Union the smell of fresh cut grass has been registered in relation to tennis balls (registration no. 428870). As of June 2005 this is the only CTM registration for a smell trademark in the EU, although smell marks have been registered in jurisdictions within the EU, eg. a smell "reminiscent of roses" (UK reg. no. 2001416, in relation to tyres) and a "strong smell of bitter beer" (UK reg. no. 2000234, in relation to flights for darts). In the U.S., the sound of the roar of a lion has been registered as a sound trademark in relation to motion pictures by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, while NBC was first to register a sound trademark in the U.S. (ie. registration no. 0916522 for NBC's distinctive sequence of three-note chimes in relation to television broadcasting services).
- ^ Religion of PeaceTM and Pilots with Guns. Grouchy Old Cripple (July 24, 2002).
- ^ Waters, Baldwin Shelston; Angela Sutton (July 2001). Trading on a good name. Findlaw.
- ^ How Do I Use a Trademark Properly?. Information and Publishing FAQ. International Trademark Association. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
- ^ Always Use a Trademark as an Adjective, Followed by the Appropriate Noun Descriptor(s). Trademarks and Brands. 3Com Legal. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
- ^ Permissions and trademark guidelines. Adobe. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
Trade Mark Offices
See also intellectual property organizations
- Australia IP Australia
- Canada Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- European Union Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM)
- Hong Kong HK Intellectual Property Department
- United Kingdom UK Patent Office
- United States U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Germany Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
Trade mark databases / searches
- Australia IP Australia
- Canada CIPO
- European Union (CTM) OHIM
- Hong Kong HK IPD
- World Intellectual Property Organisation (Madrid system) WIPO Madrid Express
- United Kingdom UK Patent Office
- United States United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Germany DPINFO Patent and Trademark Database
- Welcome to the non-traditional Trade Mark Archives — the non-traditional trade marks archives of Ralf Sieckmann includes a data base of trade marks in the field of sound, smell, taste, texture, motion, holograms worldwide
Trade mark organizations
- INTA The International Trademark Association
- WIPO World Intellectual Property Organisation
- WIPO trademarks homepage
- IACC The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition
Trade mark resources
- Grounds for Refusal and how to trademark online
- Directory of trade names in Webster's Online Dictionary — the Rosetta Edition
- Fair Use of Trademarks, © Copyright 2002 Lloyd L. Rich, at The Publishing Law Center™. [N.B. Information posted on this site does not constitute legal advice.]
- Information and Publishing at the International Trademark Association
- Trademark caselaw and press ticker
- USPTO Stopfakes.gov Small Business Resources