Trademarks are an important way companies and individuals can protect themselves against competitors trading in the same market more profitably. But how exactly? How do trademarks work to help firms that have them? And what is the difference between trademarks and patents? Understanding the answers to these questions is one of the best ways you and your company can arm yourself against legal disputes in the future. Here, we give a trademarks definition and other essential information that will help you grasp how and when trademarks are used.

What is a trademark?

A trademark can take several forms. It can be any word, symbol, name, or device (or even a mix of all of these ideas) that clearly identifies a product that comes from one company compared to a competitor. A trademark is what can set one product apart from a market of very similar products. A trademark has now been seen to be extended to the idea of branding. Logos are, therefore, a very common thing to trademark so that other entities cannot use them for their own betterment.

They are not to be confused with copyright or patents. Copyright covers a piece of work like a song, a painting, or a book. Trademarks and patents are different as patents stop inventions by a company or individual from being used by others unless authorized to do so.

How do trademarks work?

Interestingly, trademarks do not have to be registered to be thought of as a trademark. However, registering them means that a company or individual has the exclusive right to use that particular trademark. While it can be licensed out, like a patent, if a company or individual is found to be using the trademark without authorization, the trademark holder can make a legal claim against the entity they believe partaking in trademark infringement. 

How long are trademarks good for? 

Trademarks last for differing amounts of time in different countries. For example, in Canada, trademarks need to be renewed every 15 years. Whereas in the States, U.S trademarks last ten years before they need to be renewed. Again this is where U.S. patent and trademarks diverge as, though registering either is done through the same organization, patents need to be renewed every 20 years. 

Advantages of a trademarks

Trademarks are a great way for a company to establish a brand and then continue to demarcate themselves away from their peers. Doing so can help encourage return and future business and allow companies to set their services and products apart. Trademarks, when registered, can be doubly helpful if a company finds a competitor trying to use that trademark for its own benefit. Registering trademarks helps make trademark infringement cases easier to rule in favor of an entity with that trademark. That being said, it is not always a given. 

Contractbook and trademarks

Contractbook can help with trademarks when it comes to licensing them out for usage if a company requires contracts for authorization. Through our vast library of contract templates - like a licensing agreement - for example, a company can quickly and easily generate a legally binding document that needs little amending for final use. Plus, as lawyers have created our contract templates, any contract that is created can be relied upon to uphold a company’s legal position. Plus, our data-driven software means that those contracts can be easily amended and updated each and every time a company comes to license out its trademark.

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