A trademark can be a word, symbol, logo, or slogan used to identify the source of origin of a particular good or service. For instance, Nike is a registered trademark for clothing, shoes, back packs, and many other products.
Logos and Slogans
Nike also has a symbol or logo registered. Its iconic “swoosh” which looks like a kind of stylized check mark. Nike also has a slogan registered. Its slogan “Just Do It” is registered as part of its intellectual property to associate its goods and services with its company. So when a consumer sees the swoosh or the slogan they know that those products or those services belong to Nike, Inc.
Trade Name vs. Trademark
Nike, Inc. is the trade name for the company. It is important to note that there is a difference between a trade name and a trademark. A trade name is the name of the company as it is incorporated with a particular state. A common misconception is that by owning a trade name or a fictitious name a person or company can gain rights to a mark. This is not necessarily the case. The rights to a name are created by using a trademark in commerce not by incorporating a company with a particular name.
Servicemarks vs. Trademarks
Nowadays, the terms trademark and servicemark are used interchangeably. However, historically, “trademarks” referred to the brand name of a product whereas “servicemarks” referred to the brand name of a service. To be technically correct, and if you want to impress your friends, you can teach them of this distinction.