A trademark is an intellectual property (IP) right issued for a design, sign, and/or expression that helps identify the source of a product or service. As the name suggests, a trademark is an integral part of the corporate identity of a business. However, trademarks are also issued to individuals and other legal entities. In terms of the location of the trademark on a product, it can be displayed in a variety of places, ranging from the product to the marketing material accompanying the product. There are a variety of different types of trademarks, including word marks, design marks (logos), sound marks, etc. Each country has its own laws on the types of trademarks that are deemed registerable.
Different symbols are used to designate a trademark: the letters “TM” and “SM” can be used in superscript for unregistered trademarks, and the letter “R” with a circle around (®) is used for registered trademarks. Trademark rights are normally limited to the particular jurisdiction in which they are established. However, international trademark laws also exist.
The timeline for registering a trademark varies widely depending on the country and the type of trademark application. For example, in the case of an application for a trademark currently used in US commerce, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states that it take at least three months before they review the application, one more month to approve and publish the trademark, and three more months to register the US trademark.