A Trademark is either a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. Unlike patents, which exclude competition for a specified period of time and then expire, trademarks allow consumers to differentiate similar products made by different producers. In doing so, trademarks serve to protect market share. Ideally, a company can use patent protection to develop a product (possible 20 year term), and a trademark to protect its market share (possible perpetual term).

Trademarks come in four forms:
•Common law trademarks
•State trademarks
•Federal trademarks
•Foreign trademarks

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