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Intellectual Property

A guide to understanding the different types of Intellectual Property (Copyright, Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets)


What is a Trademark? 

Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others to indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce. 


Logos and Branding 

Protected by Trademark not Copyright 

Logos and Branding as representatives of a commercial element are not covered by copyright. Copyright protects the artist who designed the art that became the logo or brand. It does not protect a company from infringement by another commercial element who reuses it and makes a profit. This is what a Trademark is for. By making sure companies file for a Trademark it prevents confusion in the marketplace.



Trademark Owner

the person or legal entity that applies the trademark to goods they produce, or that uses the service mark in the sale or advertising of services they perform. The trademark owner also generally controls the nature and quality of the goods sold or services rendered under the trademark. A party that merely imports or distributes goods bearing the trademark of a manufacturer or producer is not the owner of the trademark. The applicant listed in a trademark application must be the owner of the trademark. In the case of an intent-to-use application, the applicant must be entitled to use the mark in commerce.

[Definitions taken from the United States Patent and Trademark Office Glossary. For more information follow the link in the citation.] Glossary: USPTO. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2019, from

There 3 types of symbols that signify the status of a logo or brand's Trademark.

Unregistered Trademark  

Unregistered Service Trademark (used to promote brand services that are specific to a commercial entity) 

Registered Trademark 



Trademark and Logo Resources

WIPO Global Brand Database is an essential FREE resource for those looking to create a new logo or brand for a commercial entity.  "The Global Brand Database is your gateway to more than 45,930,000 records from some 55 national and international collections, and the first step in researching whether a mark similar or identical to yours already exists. Search the Global Brand Database before filing a trademark application, or to simply browse marks in markets that interest you."

Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), provided by the United States Trademark and Patent Office, is an essential FREE database for searching for logos and trademarks that are already in use by commercial entities within the United States.