Trademark Source Law and Legal Definition

A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities. Under trademark law, a source is the unique manufacturer or service provider from whom a trademark originates. When a consumer sees a trademark, the person understands that the product bearing that trademark is from the same source as all other products bearing the same mark. It is not necessary that the consumer should know the actual name of the manufacturer or service provider. All that is necessary is that the consumer knows the products bearing one mark are from one source, while the products bearing another mark are from a different source.

The entire purpose of trademark law depends on the ability of a trademark to identify a unique source. If one mark is related enough to another mark, in terms of look, sound, meaning, and use, then they no longer function to identify a single source, and thus cease to function as a trademark.