A trademark is a word, combination of words, numerals, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.  But trademarks may also consist of drawings, three-dimensional features such as the shape and packaging of goods, even non-visible signs such as sounds or fragrances, or color shades used as distinguishing features – the possibilities for trademarks are almost limitless – especially in the international context.

Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark (or brand).  Trademarks are actually governed by both state and national laws.  However, in the age of the Internet and due some a few court cases, state registrations are less important.  State common laws, on the other hand, may be very important as are national registrations.

At the national and or regional level, trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by filing an application for registration with the national/regional trademark office and paying the required fees.  At the international level, we assist clients by arranging to have trademarks filed in individual countries by local attorneys or we can use the World Intellectual Property Organization Madrid System Protocol to provide international protection of your marks.

In principle, a trademark registration will confer an exclusive right to the use of the registered trademark. This implies that the trademark can be exclusively used by its owner, or licensed to another party for use in return for payment.  We assist our intellectual property clients with in acquiring trademark registrations at the state, national, and even international levels.