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US Trademark


In the United States of America, the Lanham Act, is the principal federal legislation, which governs the law relating to trademarks. Section 45 of the said Act defines the term "trademark" as under:
The term trademark includes any word, name, symbol or device or any combination there of
  1. used by any person, or
  2. which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter, to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.

Although the definition confines a trademark to any "word, name, symbol or device or any combination thereof", judicial interpretations have expanded its scope to include even sound/music, smell/odour as well touch-mark to be considered as a trademark.

Registration of Trademark

In the United States, a trademark can be registered both under the federal law as well as individual state laws. While the former affords the registered user to claim exclusivity to use the mark throughout the U.S.A., a state registration is confines such rights within the boundaries of the particular state. Federal registration supersedes state registration unless the latter registered owner proves earlier use of the identical mark (.e., from a date prior to the date of registration of the former under federal law). It must be also noted that registration of trademark is not a mandatory requirement for protecting the same against infringements. Lanham Act permits a non-registered trademark owner to claim exclusive right to use his mark within the limited geographic area of its use provided the same is used by him prior to the registration of an identical mark by another.

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