Trademark Dictionary


Trademark is a word, phrase, graphical design, or any other device, or a combination of devices, that is used to identify the source of a product and to distinguish such product from products offered by competitors.  In addition to traditional trademarks, there are also non-conventional trademarks such as colors, 3D objects, holograms, musical tunes and sounds, moving images, videos, textures, smells and other matter. 
For all practical purposes, a service mark is identical to a trademark, with the only exception that it is used in connection with services, as opposed to tangible goods. 
Certification mark is a word, phrase, symbol, design element, or a combination thereof used by someone other than the mark’s owner to indicate that a product meets certain standards set by the mark’s owner (certifying entity). The owner of a certification mark is referred to as a certifying party, while the user is called a certified party. 
There are three main types of certification marks: (1) marks certifying that a product originated in a certain geographical region; (2) marks that certify a product’s quality, safety of materials, mode of manufacture and other similar criteria; and (3) marks certifying that a product or service was produced/provided by a member of a union or other organization, or that the provider meets certain standards
Because the purpose of certification marks is to certify products/services of others, the entity that owns a certification mark is not allowed to use the mark with its own products/services. 
Collective membership mark is a word, phrase, symbol, design element, or a combination thereof which indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a particular cooperative, association, or other collective group or organization.  Collective membership marks are owned by an organization but used by individual members of the organization.

Generic trademark (a/k/a genericized trademark) is a trademark that lost its ability to serve as a source identifier and became synonymous with a product, thus becoming the product’s general name. Generic marks enjoy no legal protection and can be freely used by anyone.

Aspirin, Escalator, Thermos and Yo-Yo are just a few examples of generic marks.