A trademark is one of the most important business assets you’ll ever own. It’s your brand name, your logo, or any other symbol that distinguishes your company or your company’s goods from those of another manufacturer. By registering your trademark you go on record as the official owner of the mark, which gives you a significant leg up in court should a dispute over your right to use the mark ever arise. This comes in handy, for example, if you discover that another person or company is hurting your business reputation or causing confusion by using your mark to sell similar or cheaper-quality goods.
An owner of an unregistered mark may indicate ownership of a mark with the symbol “TM” for a trademark, or “SM” for a service mark.
In general, generic marks do not receive trademark protection because they are so general. On the other hand, owners of a registered mark are entitled to use the registration symbol ® in connection with their mark.
It’s not uncommon for people to confuse copyrights with trademarks. Whereas trademarks are used to protect intellectual property such as company names, brands, logos and symbols, a copyright grants you exclusive legal rights to your creative work, which can include anything from literary or website content to musical or artistic compositions. In order to receive copyright protection for your work, your creation must be expressed in a tangible form such as a piece of writing or a recording. Once granted, a copyright prevents others from copying, performing or using your work without your permission.