trade·​mark | \ˈtrād-ˌmärk \

Definition of trademark 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device (such as a word) pointing distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and legally reserved to the exclusive use of the owner as maker or seller

2 : a distinguishing characteristic or feature firmly associated with a person or thing wearing his trademark bow tie and derby hat


trademarked; trademarking; trademarks

Definition of trademark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to secure trademark rights for : register the trademark of

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Synonyms for trademark

Synonyms: Noun


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Examples of trademark in a Sentence


“Kleenex” is a registered trademark. Outspokenness has always been his trademark. Courtesy is the company's trademark.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The image later became the company's official trademark in 1931. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "First and newest Gerber babies pose for adorable photo," 5 June 2018 Donald Trump himself has more than 100 trademarks in China. Sui-lee Wee,, "As Ivanka Trump wins China trademarks, her father helps a Chinese company. A coincidence?," 28 May 2018 But there's another trademark that sticks out to us: one for a whole closet's worth of clothes. Cam Wolf, GQ, "New Kanye West Merch Might Be on the Way," 19 Apr. 2018 Mattress Firm and Tempur Sealy were already embroiled in a separate lawsuit in Texas over the terms of their breakup and Mattress Firm’s use of Tempur Sealy trademarks. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Mattress Firm’s Ex-Supplier Opens New Front in Trademark Fight," 29 Aug. 2018 And the two countries will convene a panel to decide on commercial names, trademarks and brand names. Nikolia Apostolou, USA TODAY, "Why all the furor over Macedonia name change? It goes back to Alexander the Great," 15 June 2018 Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins sued Yugdharini LLC and its five partners for trademark and trade dress infringement, and unfair and deceptive trade practices, among other allegations. Joe Marusak And Hannah Lang, charlotteobserver, "Dunkin' Donuts is so upset with these Charlotte stores, it's suing to close them," 11 June 2018 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is the owner of all rights, title, and interest in and to the artist’s works, and has registered trademark and trade dress rights in the design of his iconic coffee table. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Is Walmart selling knockoffs of classic midcentury modern furniture?," 11 June 2018 Assets listed in the notice include content from more than 50 years of print publishing as well as trademarks and licensing agreements. David Ng,, "Penthouse Global Media sold for $11.2 million at auction to porn site owner," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Scrabble was first trademarked as such in 1948, after it was thought up under a different name in 1933 by Alfred Mosher Butts, an out-of-work architect in Poughkeepsie, New York. Leanne Itali, The Seattle Times, "Yowza! Scrabble dictionary update adds ‘OK,’ ‘ew’ to official play," 24 Sep. 2018 Since they weren’t trademarked, the X, which barred entry to underage viewers, was soon appropriated by pornographers, who changed it from a warning to a boast. New York Times, "Dystopia, Apocalypse, Culture War: 2018 or 1968?," 17 May 2018 Her image became so synonymous with the brand, Gerber trademarked the drawing of Cook in 1931. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Original Gerber Baby meets newest Gerber Baby," 6 June 2018 Bad news for all the other up-and-coming Meryl Streeps in Hollywood: The 68-year-old future star of Big Little Lies has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark her name, TMZ reports. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Meryl Streep Is Trademarking Her Name," 29 Jan. 2018 For Tam, the ability to trademark his band was about reclaiming a marginalized identity through reappropriation. Sonia K. Katyal,, "The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks," 23 June 2018 And jewelry company Le Vian trademarked a chocolate scent for its stores. Rachel Siegel,, "Hasbro trademarks Play-Doh scent," 24 May 2018 To my dismay no fewer than 90 new forms had been named, introduced, patented and/or trademarked — in just those six months! Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Gardeners can go from OK to superb with the help of these websites," 6 July 2018 The Jerusalem Post reported that the name change will have to be approved by the Israel Football Association and could be undone by trademark issues; Trump's name has been trademarked in Israel since 2008, according to the newspaper. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "F.C. Beitar Jerusalem soccer team wants to add 'Trump' to its name," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trademark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trademark


1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1881, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for trademark

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trademark

The first known use of trademark was in 1839

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More Definitions for trademark



Financial Definition of trademark

What It Is

A trademark is any legally-protected abstract or figural representation or slogan associated with a company or product that deliberately differentiates it in the market.

How It Works

A trademark is a marketing device that visually sets a company or product apart from similar items trying to gain market share. Trademarks are forms of intellectual property that are unique to a company and or its products. Slogans, symbols, or inventive catchphrases are common examples of trademarks. Companies legally register their trademarks with the appropriate authorities in order to prevent competing companies from copying (called infringing upon) their trademark or trademarks (explicitly designated by the superscripted "TM"). Infringing on a registered trademark is illegal and may be used as justification for legal action by the company which legal rights to that trademark.

To illustrate, suppose company XYZ produces a cleaning solution for eye glasses called CrystalensTM (a clever contraction of the words "crystal" and "lens") for which they have a valid registered trademark. Should another company infringe upon this trademark by copying the name Crystalens verbatim or in part, then company XYZ is justified in suing the infringing party.

Why It Matters

In addition to differentiating companies and products in a given market, the use of trademarks is a marketing strategy that encourages recognition and association of some level of quality among consumers. Registered trademarks ensure fair, competitive practices in the market while protecting the owner of the intellectual property rights.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of trademark

: something (such as a word) that identifies a particular company's product and cannot be used by another company without permission

: a quality or way of behaving, speaking, etc., that is very typical of a particular person, group, or organization


trade·​mark | \ˈtrād-ˌmärk \

Kids Definition of trademark

: a device (as a word) that points clearly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and that is legally reserved for use only by the owner

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trade·​mark | \ˈtrād-ˌmärk \

Medical Definition of trademark 

: a device (as a word or mark) that points distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and that is legally reserved for the exclusive use of the owner — compare service mark


trade·​mark | \ˈtrād-ˌmärk \

Legal Definition of trademark 

: a mark that is used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify the origin or ownership of goods and to distinguish them from others and the use of which is protected by law — see also dilution, infringement, strong mark, weak mark, Trademark Act of 1946 — compare copyright, patent, service mark

Note: The Patent and Trademark Office registers trademarks and service marks that are used in interstate commerce or in intrastate commerce that affects interstate commerce. There are also state registration statutes for marks used in intrastate commerce. A trademark or service mark need not be registered for an owner to enforce his or her rights in court. The common law recognizes ownership of a trademark, established by actual and first use of the mark, but it extends only to the areas or markets where the mark is used. Federal registration of a trademark gives rise to a federal cause of action for infringement in addition to the common-law claim. Registration also serves as evidence of the owner's exclusive right to the continuous use and validity of the mark, and as constructive notice to the world of the claim to the mark. To be a valid trademark at common law and for federal registration, a mark must be distinctive; a descriptive mark may become distinctive by acquiring secondary meaning.

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Comments on trademark

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