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Trademarks (The Lanham (Trademark) Act 1946)

A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which differentiates products or services of a particular company from its competitors.  The Lanham Act of 1946 is the primary federal law defining the rights of the trademark owner in the United States. Trademarks are often associated with company brands, which typically is a symbol or expression a company uses to build its brand value in a market place to become very recognizable to customers.  Brands are typically words, phrases, or logos, but can also be sound trademarks.

Some of the most recognizable Trademark brands in the world are:

  • Nike Swoosh
  • McDonald's Golden Arches
  • Olympic Rings
  • Coca Cola
  • Disney
  • World Wildlife Fund Panda

One brand that has been developed over the years, like others, have built such brand recognition that it is used for the generic product it represents, Kleenex.  Most people don't ask for a tissue, they ask for a Kleenex.

Some sound brands that are well known to consumers are:

  • Intel's "Ding, Ding"
  • Green Giant's "Ho, Ho, Ho, Green Giant"
  • T-Mobile's "Chimes"
  • MGM entertainment's "Roaring Lion"
  • Southwest Airlines' "Ding"
  • Pillsbury's "Doughboy Giggle"

Trademarks are very important to companies for building brand recognition and value for the company.  In fact, it is believed that branding is one of a few remaining forms of product differentiation in the 21st century today.  Thus, many companies put great value on their brands, and are quick to defend the brand from misuse.