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Understand Your Trademark

Trademark: Legal Care for Your Business & Product NamePatent, Copyright & Trademark: An Intellectual Property Desk ReferenceAmerican Trademarks: From the Roaring '20s to the Swinging '60sIntellectual Property: The Law of Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents, and Trade Secrets for the Paralegal 

Trademarks are distinctive symbols or marks that signify a particular outfit, organization, company or commodity. It is a referential sign that was created to signify a single source. The trademark was born basically to maintain and protect businesses, and to facilitate the presence of a particular company’s set of goods on the market. In the international arena, the trademark’s significance can be seen in the stock market, specifically.

The stock market cannot survive without trademarks. The acronyms and numerical assignations in the international stock market cannot exist without pre-fabricated trademarks- which brings us to the basic parts of a trademark.

In essence, a trademark may be the commodity or service itself, and the words and symbols that are appended to these products. There is a basic blurring between the commodity and the sign when it comes to determining specifically what a trademark is.

For example, Sony’s Walkman series may be taken as a trademark- both the name of the series and the basic design of the music players are both trademarks and are both protected by the appropriate international treatises.

Trademarks carry a company’s reputation, which is why international law and local state laws protect it. In the United States alone, the largest conglomerates would fight tooth and nail to protect a logo or a combination of a logo and words from dilution, appropriation or misuse. For example, another company may not use the well known symbol of Coca Cola.

How does dilution take place with a trademark? Let us identify first the basic parts of common trademarks: the most visible parts are of course the symbols and words themselves. Colors and font styles may also be protected by law- the signature Coca Cola ribbons for instance, may not be used by other businesses to advertise non-Coca Cola products.

Similarities may also be contested by pre-existing companies if similar trademark symbols suddenly come into being and challenge the singularity of what another existing trademark signifies. If confusion sets in, laws will remove another company’s hold on their trademark.

The economics of the trademark
How does a trademark function in the global arena? Smaller corporations are not completely reliant on trademarks. But for the largest multinational players in the global market, trademarks signify either loss or victory.

Piracy may be the biggest nemesis when it comes to trademark infringement. Take the case of Nike, according to company statistics, not all the profit that comes from sales of commodities with the Nike trademark finds its way back to the company itself.

According to a company spokesperson, trademark infringement is “sort of having a restaurant, where half of the people in it are eating, but are not paying”.

Other similar losers in the trademark protection game is Microsoft- it has been estimated that in some countries of the world, the piracy rate is more than ninety-eight percent- with a meager two percent of sales that can be attributed to legal resellers and dealers. This bourgeoning problem has resulted in two significant steps for intellectual property.

These two steps include: harsher penalties for those caught in the actual act of trademark infringement and second, a revamped international campaign to combat piracy where it is mostly winning: in the minds and hearts of consumers everywhere.

The trademark has become so powerful that a simple “Pepsi” on a bottle would already be able to sell it to consumer bases that are already aware of Pepsi the company’s long history.

Because of this, trademark battles are still occurring endlessly across several industries - which prove just how potent a single symbol or a single word is in determining who makes profit, and who loses capital. This is a real war with real losses and hard-won victories.

Source : Isnare , Jessica Trazzoni
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