A Trade Mark is a sign that is graphically represented and capable of distinguishing the goods or services of a person, company or legal entity from those of another. A Trade Mark can be comprised of words, letters, numbers, designs, names, slogans, symbol, colors, images, packaging, etc. or a combination of the foregoing. The essential feature of a Trade Mark is that it must be distinctive, that is, it must identify and differentiate its owner’s goods or services from those of its competitors.
A Trade Mark is also an indicator of source. It identifies the source of the product and is a snapshot of the value and reputation of a company and its products. The quality and reputation of a company’s product is therefore inextricably tied to its Trade Mark.
A Trade Mark is therefore a useful tool for creating a competitive advantage. Through proper ownership, protection, exploitation and enforcement a Trade Mark can become a crucial asset and marketing tool for a company. Many companies have accounted for their Trade Mark as an intangible asset on the company’s balance sheet. This is a clear demonstration that these companies understand and appreciate the importance and value of their Trade Mark. It is imperative that Trade Mark owners obtain the relevant protection from the respective national Intellectual Property offices.