A trademark identifies the goods and / or services of the owner of the mark. It provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring exclusive rights to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.
A trade mark may consist of words, numerals, drawings, signs, symbols, colours or combinations thereof.
Your trademark can be a brand name, a slogan, a logo or a specific shape or a combination thereof, for example:
- Brand name e.g. Coca Cola or Aquafresh
- Slogan e.g. Let your fingers do the walking
- Logo (or device) e.g. the MacDonald’s “M”
- Specific shape e.g. the Coca Cola bottle
- Colour e.g. the Edgar’s red square
(All the trademarks on this blog are registered trademarks and only used here to provide examples)
A trade mark is a capital asset and your business’s most important marketing tool. The consumer identifies your company’s goods and services with the distinctive features of your trade mark and may lead to brand loyalty.
After a period of time a trademark may become a guarantee of a certain quality or character of the particular goods or services.
A good trademark does the following:
- It identifies and distinguishes goods or services from those of competitors.
- It may identify the manufacturer or suppliers of particular goods or services.
- It guarantees a particular quality or character of the goods or services.
- It assists in advertising the goods or services.
According to the Trademarks Act of South Africa a “trade mark“ is a “mark” which has a distinguishing purpose.
It therefore is not required that the “mark” must identify an origin. It merely has to distinguish.
It’s your brand’s fingerprint and voice.