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Trademarks - Origins And Development Of Trademark Law, In The King's Name, Trademark Registration, Trademark Infringement

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Distinctive symbols of authenticity through which the products of particular manufacturers or the salable commodities of particular merchants can be distinguished from those of others.

A trademark is a device, word or combination of words, or symbol that indicates the source or ownership of a product or service. A trademark can be a name, such as Adidas, or a symbol, such as McDonald's golden arches, or it can be a combination of the two, such as when the NIKE name is written with the "swoosh" symbol beneath it. In very limited cases, a shape or even a distinctive color can become a trademark.

People rely on trademarks to make informed decisions about the products they buy. A trademark acts as a guarantee of the quality and origin of a particular good. A competing manufacturer may not use another company's trademark. The owner of a trademark may challenge any use of the mark that infringes upon the owner's rights.

The presence of trademark protection for the name or logo of a company or product is often indicated by the small symbol of an R in a circle placed near the trademark. The R means that the mark is a registered trademark and is a warning that the law prevents unauthorized use of it. A party may indicate that it is claiming rights to a particular mark by displaying a TM rather than an R symbol. Marks bearing the TM symbol are not registered, but the presence of the symbol shows an intent to register.

FURTHER READINGS

Dinwoodie, Graeme B., and Mark D. Janis. 2004. Trademarks and Unfair Competition: Law & Policy. New York: Aspen.

Trademarks A to Z. 2004. Mechanicsburg: Pennsylvania Bar

Institute.

Trademarks Throughout the World. 2003. 4th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West.

CROSS-REFERENCES

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