Protect Your Intellectual Assets
A trademark is a word, symbol, device or combination that identifies products and services as unique from other similar products and services. In other words, a trademark is a distinguishing mark that one can readily associate to a person or business. One example of a symbol trademark is Nike's swoosh design. We all know that swoosh is identified with Nike. Trademarked words include companies such as Google Gmail™ or Macy's®. Product names are usually trademarked: think Coca-Cola® (its distinctive lettering is also trademarked) or Kleenex®.
Kleenex is a special case, actually. It's a famous example of trademark dilution. Trademark dilution happens when a company doesn't protect its mark by enforcing proper usage and attribution (such as enforcing the usage of the trademark [™] or registered trademark [®] symbol) or when its trademark becomes a generic household name. Usually the problem is a combination of the two.
You can trademark a word but the word needs to be associated with a product or a service. Also, make sure that the mark has not been registered yet. You can conduct a trademark search for free with the government's Trademark Electronic Search System database.
A trademark is a brand name unique to a particular product or service. If a trademark is used in services rather than brands then it is referred to as service mark. A service mark is particularly noticeable in transportation companies such as planes or telecommunications companies.
Trademarks are necessary to distinguish products from each other. Businesses, however, view trademarks as essential intangible assets. The reputation of the company hinges on how it preserves integrity behind its business name. Defending the good name of the company is an important consideration for most firms.