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last revised Nov. 27, 2001

definitionspurpose scope acquisitionlifetime of protection legal standards


Trademarks identify and distinguish one company's goods from another, therefore they must be distinctive.

  • Nature:
    • Commercial identification via words, names, symbols, devices, sounds, smells or trade dress also referred to as the product shape
  • Scope:
    • Protects against creating likelihood of confusion, and for famous marks, dilutions
  • Purpose:
    • Protects owners and public from unfair competition
  • How to obtain rights:
    • Use mark in commerce or apply for federal registration
  • Notice requirements:
    • "TM" or "SM" if unregistered
    • ® if registered
  • Infringement standard:
    • Likelihood of confusion, mistake or deception as to source or sponsorship

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