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What are the different types of trademarks?

Trademarks come in various forms, each serving to uniquely identify and distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. Each trademark type offers a unique scope of protection, benefits, and limitations. Understanding these characteristics can help guide applicants in effectively safeguarding their intellectual property. The different trademark types include word marks, design marks, shape marks, color marks, sound marks, and scent marks.

What is a word mark?

A word mark is a specific textual representation of a brand or product name. While providing broad coverage for a particular textual representation, word marks do not protect design elements or logos in isolation without a textural component.

What is a design mark?

A design mark is the specific visual design associated with a brand, including the stylized features, graphics, or logos that identify and distinguish the brand. While design marks provide visual brand recognition, they do not protect against names or words, not in that specific design.

What is a shape mark?

A shape mark is representative of the unique shape of a product or packaging. While helping to differentiate product and packaging designs, the design of a shape mark must be non-functional and distinctive.

What is a color mark?

A color mark is representative of a unique color scheme associated with a brand. While providing brand differentiation through colors, the color scheme of a color mark cannot be functional and must be distinctive.

What is a sound mark?

A sound mark is representative of distinctive sounds or musical jingles associated with a brand or product. While providing audible brand recognition, the audible elements of a sound mark must be distinct and clearly associated with the brand.

What is a scent mark?

A scent mark represents a unique scent associated with a product. To protect this scent, the elements of a scent mark must be distinctive and non-functional. It is vital to note that scent marks are rare and challenging to register.

Need to determine which trademark types will serve you best?

Each trademark type serves a specific purpose in brand protection. Understanding their scopes and limitations allows businesses to strategically use trademarks to secure their brand identity and intellectual property.

To discuss which trademark types will serve you best, contact TCP Law by email at or John Laurence by phone at 917-612-1059.


John Laurence TCP Law, Trademark Patent Copyright Lawyer

TCP Law focuses on helping individuals and businesses develop, secure, and enforce their intellectual property rights.

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