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What is a Trademark: Simplified into Two Words

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

This is a short blog post because we don't need to overcomplicate this. What a trademark is, is rather simple. Us lawyers tend to overcomplicate things and there is a legal definition provided below (I just couldn't publish this post without giving the full legal definition - the lawyer in me was screaming.), but I break all the legal lingo into two simple words that you can remember for as long as you wish.

  1. What is a Trademark - A Legal Definition.

  2. What is a Trademark - Simplified into Two Words.

  1. What is a Trademark - A Legal Definition

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the federal agency tasked with registering trademarks, defines a trademark as: a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

15 U.S. Code § 1127 (the commerce and trade federal statue) provides more detail in its definition. 15 U.S. Code § 1127 defines a trademark as any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof—

(1) used by a person, or

(2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter, to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.

2. What is a Trademark - Simplified into Two Words

While these legal definitions above are not overly complicated, there's a much simpler definition to help you understand trademarks.

A trademark is *drum roll* a SOURCE IDENTIFIER. Thats it! A trademark informs the consuming public the source of the goods and/or services.

Why Source Identification is Important for Any Business

If you think about it, source identification is important and becomes extremely important if you're spending a significant amount of money.

Say you're on amazon looking for leggings and