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Trademarks in the Media

Kim Bartel Sheehan


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Trademarks are symbols used by companies to identify their products and services. These symbols then serve to distinguish a product or service from those of another company (when a service is trademarked, the resulting mark is legally referred to as a “servicemark”). Trademarks can consist of a word, a phrase, a design, a sound, a color, a product configuration, a group of letters or numbers, or any combination of these. The trademark for the NBC television network, for example, consists of the letters “NBC” and a stylized peacock; the trademark for the Playboy empire consists of the word “Playboy” and the famous bunny symbol. The terms “trademark” and → “ brand ” are often used interchangeably, and both are considered intellectual property (→  Intellectual Property Law ). In the US, trademarks can be registered with the US patent and trademark office. Brands can be registered as trademarks, and include the symbol of an “r” in a circle when this has occurred. If the symbol “tm” is used, it is likely that the brand has applied for registration but has not yet received it. Trademarks play important roles for all companies, including media companies. They minimize consumer confusion regarding the source (or origin) of a product or service. Trademarks also allow companies to set and enforce high quality standards for those licensing trademarked products and services. Additionally, trademarks ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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