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IP Law: Trademarks

This guide will provide a primer for students interested in or studying trademark law. It will also include links and tips for researchers writing about trademark law. Lastly, this guide will provide practical guides and valuable materials for non-lawyers

Trademarks: a primer

What is a trademark? Well, a trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination thereof that identifies the origin of a good or service. The term "trademark" can refer to both trademarks and service marks. Trademarks are used for goods and serve to identify where the good came from and who is producing it. A service mark is used for services. For example, AHA® sparkling water is a trademark. The term AHA lets the consumer know who is producing this product.  Compare this with UPS®, which is a package delivery service (though they also offer products). When you hire someone to ship a package, you know who provides that service. It is important to note that owning a trademark does not equal owning a word. It means you have the right to control how certain words or phrases are used in association with a good or service. For example, Coca-Cola (who owns the mark for AHA) cannot prevent people from using the phrase AHA in their daily diction. They can, however, prevent other beverage companies from using the phrase in association with that word. 

Trademarks are valuable assets in today's business world. The registering and protection of trademarks is a fun and fascinating area of the law. This guide is built to help legal professionals, legal researchers, law students, and laypeople find resources for all areas of trademark law. As discussed in the section "How to use this guide," this guide is built to facilitate legal research using the Rombauer method. Therefore, it is encouraged to approach this guide from top to bottom, using knowledge gained from the resources in each section to build a solid bibliography. 


Good luck, 

And carry on

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