A trademark is one of four different types of intellectual property (IP). Each form of IP serves a different function and a trademark’s job is to serve as a source identifier. That is, a trademark indicates the person, or company, that is responsible for the quality of goods and services that is associated with the trademark. By understanding the purpose of a trademark, it follows naturally that a trademark cannot exist separately from an identification of the goods and services with which it is to be used. For this reason, when seeking trademark protection it is important to properly identify the goods or services that will be used in conjunction with the trademark as well as understand that others may use your trademark with goods or services that are unrelated to yours. Obtaining trademark protection for a mark does not give you the exclusive right to use that mark with anything in the world, but it does give you the exclusive right to use that mark in connection with your identified goods and services.
Kelly G. Swartz is an intellectual property attorney practicing in Melbourne, FL. Her law firm, Ingenuity Law, provides trademark, patent, copyright, and trade secret services.