IXD 302 – Week 11 Intellectual Property


Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.


We all know what the trademark symbol looks like, But what does trademark actually mean? Well it is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. Trademarks used to identify services are sometimes called service marks. Registered trademarks are renewed every 10 years.

What Kinds of Trademark Are There?

There are many different types of trademarks. They can be combined in various ways to align with the personality or look of a brand. Types of trademarks include:

  • Brand names like Apple, McDonald’s, and Dolce & Gabbana
  • Product names like iPod and Big Mac
  • Company logos like the golden arches at McDonald’s and NBC’s peacock logo
  • Slogans like Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?” and McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it”
  • Words in a stylized font like “Coca-Cola” and “Ebay”
  • Colors like National Breast Cancer Foundation Pink (for fundraising services) and Cadbury Egg Purple (Pantone Color PMS 2685C)
  • Product shapes like the Coca-Cola bottle and Apple iPod
  • Sounds like the three tone chime at NBC and the ‘Yahoo!’ yodel
  • Fictitious characters like the talking gecko at Geico and the Pink Panther
  • Symbols (also known as devices) like the Nike swoosh symbol and Mercedes emblem
  • Combination (also known as composite) marks include more than one feature like the Starbucks coffee emblem (a name and a symbol) and the signature Tiffany & Co. gift box (a name and a shape)

So if you ever see the little TM beside a company name you’ll know that it is trademarked and cannot be used by anyone else.


Some Examples

Color Branding & Trademark Rights

As you can both Mcdonalds and Starbuck have the trademark symbols both present in their brand logos, in reality all registered trademark companies have them in their logo, wordmark etc.

The NIKE logo has one for both the name and the tick, as both are property of Nike.

Nike, black white, logo



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