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  Legal Notice   ·   Data Privacy
Brands and Trademarks

Hans Domizlaff, the doyen of German marketing, spoke of "brand-name articles with a brand-name face" as early as the 1930s and concluded:
"Prior rights to a brand-name article must be protected by a designation that cannot be imitated."

In everyday marketing usage, this designation of a brand-name article is frequently referred to as a "trademark". But the designation does not become a trademark as defined by trademark law until protection has actually been obtained. The result of this is that the colloquial term "trademark" can have different meanings assigned to it in marketing and in trademark law. This does not exactly make communication any easier between marketing experts and trademark law professionals. Therefore, it would be advisable to use different terms for the unprotected designation of a product and for the designation protected by a trademark. In the former instance, this designation can be referred to as a "brand".

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines the general term "brand" as "a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers," and adds: "The legal term for brand is trademark."

Thus, generally speaking, the word "brand" should be used to denominate the designation of a brand-name article, whereas the word "trademark" should only be used if the designation is protected under trademark law.

Accordingly, a branded article is provided with a brand-name and/or a brand-mark, which ideally is protected from unauthorized imitation. It can be a word mark, a figurative mark, a slogan, a phonetic or auditive mark, or any other recognizable symbol.