Trademarks are unique or distinct marks of identity associated with a business entity, for instance, its brand name, trade name, symbol, logo, slogan, tagline, theme tune, or a combination of colours. These are used to distinguish the goods or services of a particular business from those of other businesses, especially its competitors in the market. The main objective behind possessing unique trademarks by businesses is building a strong brand recognition with a loyal consumer base.
In India, Trademarks are regulated under the Trademarks Act of 1999. The Act defines Trademarks under Section 2(m) as device marks, brand names, headings, labels, ticket names, signatures, words, letters, numerals, shape of goods, packaging or a combination of colours appearing individually or in combination with each other. Furthermore, Section 2(zb) of the Act states that trademarks are marks capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one person from those of the others.
A device mark is a type of trademark that includes a distinctive design, symbol, logo, image, or graphic element used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of a particular business. Unlike wordmarks, which consist solely of words or letters, device marks incorporate a visual element that is designed to communicate the business’s brand. Examples of well-known device marks include Apple’s logo, Nike’s “Swoosh” or “Check Mark” label, and Target’s bullseye logo. Device marks are often used by businesses to create a unique visual identity and establish a strong brand recognition among consumers.
When a trademark is specifically used for services, it is commonly referred to as a service mark. Examples of service marks include DHL, HILTON, and INFOSYS. However, as the distinction between goods and services isn’t always clear-cut, the term “trademark” is often used to encompass service marks as well.