A distinctive mark, motto, device, or emblem that a manufacturer stamps, prints, or otherwise affixes to the goods it produces to distinguish them from the goods of other manufacturers.
The Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995
Prohibits dilution (unauthorized use of marks on goods or services, even if they do not compete directly with products whose marks are copied).
A trademark may be registered with a state or the federal government. Trademarks need not be registered to be protected.
Distinctiveness of the Mark
The extent to which the law protects a trademark is normally determined by how distinctive it is, with the purpose of reducing the likelihood that consumers will be confused by similar marks.
Fanciful, arbitrary, or suggestive marks are considered most distinctive.
Descriptive Terms, Geographic Terms, and Personal Names
Descriptive terms, geographic terms, and personal names are not inherently distinctive and are not protected until they acquire a secondary meaning (which means that customers associate the mark with the source of a product)
Terms such as bicycle or computer receive no protection, even if they acquire secondary meaning.
Used to distinguish the services of one person or company from those of another. Registered in the same manner as trademarks.
Used by one or more persons, other than the owner, to certify the region, materials, mode of manufacture, quality, or accuracy of the owner's goods or services.
Certification marks used by members of a cooperative, association, or other organization.
Trade dress is the image and appearance of a product, and has the same protection as trademarks.
Remedies for patent infringement
injunction, Damages for royalties, and Reimbursements for attorneys fees and costs
Theft of trade secrets
is now a federal crime under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.