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What's the Difference between a Trademark and a Brand?

We often hear the term "brand" used interchangeably with the term "trademark". But there is a legal difference between the two words. A trademark is a mark that legally represents something, usually a business, by their goods or services. A brand name, however, is the name that a business chooses for one of their products. A brand identifies a specific product or name of a company. A "Trademark" includes any device, brand, make, label, name, signature, word, letter, numerical, shape of goods, packaging, color or combination of colors, smell, sound, movement or any combination thereof which is capable of distinguishing goods and services of one business from those of others. One might ask, “What make of car do you drive?” and hear the answer as “A Ford®.” Or, “What brand of detergent do you use?” “Oh, I use Tide®.” Both Ford and Tide are trademarks, Ford cars can be both a brand and make, but Tide is not a make. You can use just the word "Ford" as a brand. A brand can also become a trademark. Ford started making cars in 1903, and started using the now famous oval Ford logo in 1907. But it was not until 1909 that the brand name Ford was registered as a trademark and today the brand name Ford is now a worldwide trademark. In reality, very few people, other than lawyers, who hear you use the word "brand" rather than "trademark" would stop and tell you that you used the wrong word.

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Citadel Patent Law - Tacoma Intellectual Property Attorney
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