Home » What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Brand?

What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Brand?


It is not uncommon for people to confuse a company’s trademark with its brand, as well as the brand name or trade name. It brings us to the question of “what is a trade name”, it is a term that a firm utilizes to do business that is distinct from the entity’s registered or legal name. A trade name or business name must be registered in a separate register in several nations. To distinguish a trade name from a legal name, the terms such as “doing business as,” “trading as,” or “operating as” are frequently used. The brand of a corporation, on the other hand, is an intangible entity, living solely in the minds of the people.

The Origins of Brand and Trademark

The word “brand” comes from the period when herdsmen used a branding iron to make scorch markings on their cattle to distinguish it from the herd of other herders. Following the Industrial Revolution, items were marketed all over the world, and manufacturers realized that their products needed to be recognized and distinguished from others. As a result, trademarks were created to protect brand names and, eventually, brands were developed. Brands are a vital element of the corporate landscape, and their relevance is only increasing as the world becomes more global.

Let’s Explain A Few Terms

A trademark is legal protection for a brand awarded by the Trademark Office, whereas a brand is a business identity that develops through time and builds its reputation of excellence in the eyes of the consumer.

Meanwhile a brand aids in the identification of a company and its products or services, a trademark aids in the prevention of competitors copying the brand image or developing substantially similar identities in order to cause market confusion. A variety of aspects make up a brand. These are not limited to, but often include the identity of the concerned brand, the personality of the brand, its essence, its cultural impact, and so on.

These factors, when considered collectively, establish a brand’s market worth. Other people can use a brand that hasn’t been registered or trademarked without the worry of being penalized. The unauthorized use of a trademark is punishable if it is registered. The brand name is simply the moniker by which the company wants to be recognized. Trademarks are legal symbols that symbolize a brand, usually a business, and its goods and services. While the public recognizes the company by its brand, the trademark protects certain characteristics of that brand.

What is the Significance of a Brand?

Being used in a commercial context, the brand has two major objectives: initially, to depict the company in public in order to raise optimum awareness and appreciation for the organization and its business premise; and second, to create maximum awareness and recognition for the organization and its business proposition. The brand name (typically the trade name), the promise (which often represents the company’s purpose statement), and the logo graphically accomplish this. Second, a brand is a collection of promises that a product or service will fulfil customers’ expectations for a specific level of excellence. A brand, in the eyes of a marketer, is what represents a company’s values, and tries to build recognition and trust. Brands help to build interpersonal relationships with consumers in relation to the usage of services or products, contact with sales or client support, or brand communication are all ways to achieve this (marketing).

The Legal Perspective

A trademark performs a variety of functions. It separates the source of one party’s goods from those of another, whereas a service mark does the same thing but differentiates the origin of services rather than things.

The origin function of a trademarkis the capacity to comprehend goods and services from various sources. The quality function signifies the promise of specific goods characteristics and subjective values, and the component, which communicates the trademark’s impression to and amongst customers through marketing, are two further roles of trademarks.

Scholars and practitioners agree with these concepts, and a great example of that is the L’Oreal/Bellure case. Brand functions are similar to identity, image, personality, character, culture, essence, and reputation, but they also relate to the previously-mentioned aspects.


It is obvious that trademark and brand are closely entwined and cannot be distinguished. A trademark gives legal protection to a brand, while a brand can be defined as the essential aspects of a company’s corporate identity, which grows and develops through time via generating trust. Companies should use trademark protection to protect the capital investment they made in developing their brand.

Author: Medha Mukherjee, Legal Intern at PA Legal.

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