What are the Different Types of Trademarks That May Be Registered?
As a preliminary note, many people mistakenly assume they can only apply to register one trademark, but you can apply to register many different versions of the same trademark. It all depends on what your trademark looks like, how you use it, and how many applications you want to submit. You can file as many trademark applications as you want, but remember that each version of the trademark requires a separate trademark application. You can’t register different versions of the same trademark in one application.
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol or device; that is either currently used or will later be used in commerce by an individual; to identify and distinguish their goods from those made or sold by others in order to indicate the source of the goods, even if the source is unknown. This definition is virtually limitless since anything that is capable of holding any meaning could be used as a symbol or device. Such possibilities include: words, name, symbol, picture, design, numerals, abbreviations, slogan, packaging, product shape, texture, color, monogram, etc.
A service mark includes any word, name, symbol or device; that is either currently used or will later be used in commerce by an individual; to identify and distinguish their services from the services of others in order to indicate the source of the services, even if the source is unknown.
Trade Dress comprises the overall appearance and impression of a product. This can include product packaging, configuration, size, shape, texture, color, and graphics. In order to be protected, trade dress must be distinctive (unusual, memorable) and nonfunctional (not having a functional use, the appearance was created strictly to promote the product or service).
Collective trademarks are words, logos, or designs that are used to indicate membership in an organization. Collective marks can be either a trademark or a service mark. Collective marks are designated as either (1) collective trademarks or service marks, and (2) collective membership marks. The former indicates origin of goods or services in the members of a group. While the latter simply indicates membership in an organization or group.
Certification trademarks tell the public that the goods or services that bear the mark meet the standards required by the certifier. While the owner of a trademark may allow another individual to use their mark or not, the owner of a certification mark must allow an individual to use their mark if they meet the certification standards of the mark. A certification mark cannot also be registered as a trademark or service mark because a certification mark does not distinguish the goods or services from one individual from another.
Trade Names refer to the name of a business instead of a given product or service. It is intended for use by a person to identify their business or vocation. Trade names can often be registered either as a trade name or as a trademark.
Examples of Trademarks That May Be Registered
The following list are a few examples of trademarks that may be registered:
Note, trademarks are also categorized through the spectrum of distinctiveness to determine the inherent strength of a trademark. For more information on this topic, see our page on Trademark Selection.