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Trademark Law: Overview

Trademark Law

A trademark is a brand name, or service mark, that includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify, distinguish, and indicate the goods or services of a specific seller, or provider, from others. 

Registration of a mark is not mandatory, but carries the following benefits:

1. Notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark

2. Legal presumption of ownership nationwide

3. Exclusive right to use the mark on, or with, the goods or services listed

Research Guides

A research guide or tutorial is a useful tool to assist you with the research of an unfamiliar topic.  We hope that you will find this guide helpful.

Please review the date each research guide was updated.  Using research guides updated in the last year ensures current information.  An older guide is helpful for historical research.

Other Available Guides:

1. Columbia University, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, International Intellectual Property Research Guide, (Revised June 2008). An excellent guide providing an overview of International Intellectual Property law, foreign law associated with intellectual property, multi-lateral intellectual property treaties, and other free resources on international intellectual property.

2. Duke University, Goodson Law Library, Intellectual Property Research Guide (Revised Nov. 2011). This guide provides useful starting points for research on United States intellectual property law, including a general section on intellectual property law resources and specialized sections on the core areas of IP law: patents, copyright, and trademarks.

3. University of Washington, Gallagher Law Library, Trademark Law Research Guide (Revised Sept. 2009). The Trademark Research Guide focuses on primary sources of information about United States trademark law. It includes a final section covering Administrative Decisions & Materials.  This guide is intended to be selective, rather than comprehensive.

Trademark Examples

What is a Trademark?

This video was produced by the USPTO. For more videos on Trademark basics, please visit USPTO Video.