There are at least four separate types of trademarks, all of which identify different types of sources.
The four major categories are:
While trademark is generally used to denote any kind of source identifier, it technically refers to an identifier for a source of products. Some examples are Apple iPods, Angry Birds Apps, Coca Cola Beverages, and Chevrolet Vehicles.
A service mark is used to promote services and events. For example, the “Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian,” and “World Class Legal Counsel on Intellectual Property and Technology” are service marks, in that they are associated with the services of this law firm. Other examples are Amazon.com, H&R Block, and JiffyLube.
A certification mark is an identifier used by an organization to certify the products or services provided by others. For example, the mark “UL” is used to certify that Underwriters Laboratories has determined that a particular product meets certain standards relating to health and safety. Another example would be “Roquefort,” which certifies that certain dairy products are made solely from sheeps milk and cured in the natural caves of the Roquefort community in France.
A collective mark identifies membership in a particular organization, such as a union, or association, or products or services of the members. For example, the member of a trade union is free to use the union’s collective mark on her products, or to identify work that s/he has done. On the other hand, if the union itself were to sell t-shirts to identify its members, it would be using the mark as a trademark rather than as a collective mark.
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