A trademark is a word, slogan, symbol or design (for example, a brand name or logo) that a person or company uses to distinguish their products or services from those offered by others. A trademark is protectable when it’s used in a distinctive way to identify a product or service.
Generally, trademark law seeks to protect consumers from being confused about who provides, endorses or is affiliated with a particular product or service. To prevent this situation, a trademark owner may be able to stop others from using their trademark (or a similar trademark) without permission if that use may cause confusion.
Not all terms are subject to trademark protection under the law. Protection depends on a variety of factors, including how unique, generic or descriptive the trademark is and the manner that it’s used. For example, the term “Banana” may be protectable as a trademark to identify an electronics company, but perhaps not to describe a banana farm. In addition, many trademark owners obtain registrations for their trademarks under relevant law, but registration may not be necessary for a trademark to be protected.