Trademarked Words and Shapes – Are You in Compliance?
Trademarked words and shapes are a surprisingly large group of common words and everyday shapes that have been registered by various companies as their trademark.
A trademark is defined as a “recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others1” A trademark is not necessarily registered. Many companies use a logo, name or symbol to represent themselves that is not registered. On the other hand, a registered trademark is a trademark that has been legally registered so that no one else can use the same sign, design or expression to identify similar products.
Generally, a trademark only applies to the particular market niche it is being used in. Therefore, it is possible to use a common brand name for one product to market an entirely different product or service. Delta is a very good example, where it is used for an airline, speakers, faucets, controls and dental care, just to name a few.2 Quite a surprising number of well-known trademarks are shared by more than one brand.