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Types of Protectable Marks

Learn about trademarks, service marks, certification marks, and trade dress, which all serve source-identifying functions.


United States trademark law involves several different types of marks. There are trademarks, service marks, trade dress, certification marks, and collective marks. Each type of mark communicates something to a consumer about the source or quality of the goods associated with the mark. The goal of trademark law is to ensure that marks communicate a consistent message to consumers. Consistent signaling promotes market efficiencies by reducing the time and energy consumers need to spend...