A trademark is legally protected brand name, brand mark, or trade character (or some combination of the three). A trademark identifies one seller’s product and thus differentiates it from products of other sellers. It also aids in promotion and helps protect the seller from imitations.
A trademark may be eligible for registration, as it is in the United States through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce.
A registered trademark obtains additional protection, mainly exclusive use, but special efforts are necessary to keep the registration and the exclusive use. A registered trademark is noted by the symbol ®.
Trademarks not officially registered can instead be marked with the trademark symbol (™) or the service mark symbol (℠).