You have  item(s) in your Shopping Cart
Delete Items Check Out
False
  • Domain Services
  • Trademark Services
  • Support

Trademark Glossary and Resources

A trademark is a type of intellectual property protection that recognizes a symbol, word, or design to identify a product from a particular source. The use of trademarks has been around for centuries, since Parliament under King Henry III passed legislation that required bakers to use distinctive marks on the bread they sold, but the first modern laws on the subject came about in France in the late 19th century. They are used to identify a particular brand owner for specific goods and services, and owners can pursue legal action against those who infringe on their trademarks or grant other people licenses to produce work using their trademark in spheres they aren't proficient in.

Affirmative Defense: A legal defense in trademark law that removes liability for trademark infringement, such as parody, fair use, and improper actions by the plaintiff connected to the case

Appear: To be in court during litigation either as an attorney or party

Answer: A written response to the complaint in a civil case that may also present grounds for a defense

Assignee: A party who was transferred something (e.g., a trademark)

Assignment: A document used to transfer ownership of something

Cease and Desist Letter: A letter or email that asserts the legal right to a specific trademark, patent, or copyright and demands that the receiving party halt activities related to infringement on intellectual property

Common Law: Law based on the outcomes of previous court cases instead of statutes

Complaint: A statement by the plaintiff given to the court that describes the allegations against the defendant

Copyright: Intellectual property that is designed to protect original works such as writing, music, and art that have a tangible form

Counterclaim: A claim by a defendant against a plaintiff made to reduce the initial claims or bring up new claims against the plaintiff

Damages: The sum the defendant might have to pay if the court case is won. Damages can be used to compensate the plaintiff for losses or as punishment to deter potential future misconduct.

Declaratory Judgment: A judge's ruling concerning the current legal issue

Default Judgment: A ruling against a defendant who fails to respond to the complaint or appear in court

Defendant: The party in court against whom the complaint is brought.

Dilution: A claim brought by the owner of a famous trademark when a similar mark is created that diminishes the value of the original in some way, shape, or form

Ex Parte: "With respect to the interests of one side only." An ex parte proceeding is brought to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to examine a party's own trademark application.

Infringement: The interference with or misappropriation of somebody else's intellectual property rights

Injunction: A court order to prohibit a party from taking certain actions

Intellectual Property: Creative works, inventions, or distinctive indicators of a product or business that may be protected by the law through patents, trademarks, or copyrights

Inter Partes: Proceedings in front of the USPTO between two or more parties aside from the USPTO

IP: Intellectual property

License: Permission for another party who does not hold a trademark to use a certain property in their advertisements or products in a way that would normally be unlawful

Licensee: The party who obtained a license

Licensor: The party that granted a license to a licensee

Litigation: A lawsuit

Mediation: An informal way to settle disputes in which a neutral third party (known as a mediator) helps two parties reach an agreement

PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records, a database operated by the federal courts to give the public access to electronic records of their proceedings

Patent: A property right granted by the U.S. government to an inventor to keep others from using or selling their invention without permission

Plaintiff: The party who files a lawsuit that asserts wrongdoing

Principal Register: The USPTO's trademark register

PTRC: The Patent and Trademark Resource Center, a library chosen to house copies of patent and trademark materials so that the public can access them

Service of Process: The act of presenting a complaint or summons to the defendant

Service Mark: A design, phrase, symbol, and/or word used to identify and distinguish one service from another

Settlement: A binding agreement between two parties to avoid litigation or resolve a lawsuit before a judge or jury issues a verdict

Summons: A document filed by a plaintiff with the court to serve a defendant in order to give them notice of the lawsuit so they can respond within the allotted period of time

Trademark: A design, symbol, word, phrase, or combination of these elements to identify and distinguish one party's merchandise from another

Trademark Infringement: The use of a trademark without authorization in a way that could cause confusion about the source of goods or services

USPTO: The United States Patent and Trademark Office, the agency in charge of granting and registering patents and trademarks

  • What Is a Trademark? Trademarks are important tools for marketers, and this page explains what trademarks are and why they're important.

  • Overview of Trademark Law: Trademark law is a thriving part of the legal sphere, between applying for trademarks and trademark protection.

  • How to Register and Trademark a Brand Name: Trademarks are important for protecting intellectual property. This article gives you a step-by-step guide on how to register one for your business.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Your Intellectual Property Safe: This detailed guide gives an explanation of what can and can't be trademarked and how to get one for your business.

  • Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights: Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are all forms of intellectual property protection, but they're used for different things. Always make sure you're applying for the right one!

  • What Is a Trademark? There are more than 3,000 trademarks in the United States, and there are rules about how they can and can't be used in writing.

  • Trademarks: Everything You Need to Know: This page is broken into nine parts that include everything from a basic overview of trademarks and common mistakes to how to file a trademark application.

  • Trademark Guide: Entrepreneur Sara Blakely covers trademark registration and details about what is eligible and ineligible for trademark status in this piece.

  • How to Register a Trademark: FindLaw created this quick guide to understanding trademark eligibility, what to do if your application is rejected, and if you should work with an attorney.

  • Trademark, Patent, or Copyright: Compare and contrast these three types of intellectual property protection with a breakdown by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

  • Trademark Definition: Cornell Law School has created a quick reference on what trademarks are and different legal codes that have been created over time to develop trademark law.

  • Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright: Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are all forms of intellectual property protection, but that doesn't mean they can be used interchangeably.

  • Fair Use of Trademarks: This fact sheet from the International Trademark Association discusses fair use and how that applies to trademarks.

  • Business Name and Trademark Information: This easy-to-follow list of frequently asked questions helps you understand all the basics of trademarks and how they can be used in business.

  • What Is a Trademark, and Why Do I Need One? Learn about the basics of intellectual property used in business.

  • Proper Use of Trademarks and Trademark Symbols: There are a few different types of trademark symbols that exist for products.

  • What Is a Trademark? Learn all about the intricacies of trademarks through a thorough definition, videos, and visuals.

  • Trademark Fundamentals: Confused about how trademarks work? This educational page covers what they are, how they differ from other types of intellectual property, and how to select one.

  • Trademarks and Service Marks FAQs: The Idaho secretary of state's office put together a list of frequently asked questions about trademarks and service marks here.

  • What Is a Trademark? Get the basics on intellectual property rights by learning about what a trademark is and its purpose.

  • Patents and Trademarks: Patents and trademarks can be confusing when you don't know much about them, but this quick guide can make them easier to understand.

  • Protecting Your Idea: The NYC Department of Small Business Services created this guide to help business owners make informed decisions on trademarks, patents, and service marks.

  • Trademark vs. Copyright: This detailed overview of trademarks and copyrights can help you determine which one you need for your work.