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303 What can be Trademarked? A trademark is a word, a symbol, or a picture, or a combination of these, that is used to distinguish the product or service of one business from the products and services of other businesses.
There are three main types of trademarks. They are ordinary marks, certification marks, and distinguishing guises.
- Ordinary MarksThe first type of trademark are words or symbols that distinguish the products or services of a business or individual. An example of a word trademark is "Pepsi". An example of a design trademark would be the McDonald's golden arches.
- Certification MarksThe second type of trademark is a Certification Mark. Certification marks identify products or services that meet a defined standard. This type of trademark is usually owned by one person or business, but the trademark is often licensed to other people to use if their product or service meets the defined standard. An example of a certification mark is the "wool mark", which is owned by The Wool Bureau of Canada. The "wool mark" certification mark is used by other companies to indicate that an item of clothing is made with pure wool.
- Distinguishing GuiseThe third type of trademark is a Distinguishing Guise. A distinguishing guise identifies the unique shape of a product or a package. For example, the shape of a particular bottle may be a trademark. You can apply for a distinguishing guise trademark to protect the unique shape of your product or package.
It is important to note that there is a difference between a trademark and a trade name. A trade name is simply the name of a business or corporation. It is possible to register a trade name as a trademark if the trade name is used to identify a product or service.
Filing an application for a trademark is a complicated process. You should contact a registered trademark agent for assistance.