A trademark is an exclusive right to use a name, symbol, design or tag line in connection with a particular product or service. “Exclusive” means that only the owner of the trademark can use it in connection with that particular product or service.
A trademark is a business asset for a company
But it’s also a public good - it allows consumers to know what company they are buying from. This is why one of the goals of trademark law is avoiding confusion by consumers. In legalese, a trademark is a “source identifier.”
So what can Trademark protect?
Brand Names or the Names of Products: Coca Cola, Tylenol, Band-Aid
Slogans or Taglines - Just do it, Think Different, All the News That’s Fit to Print
Logos - Apple, Shell, Mcdonalds
Even sounds or scents, like the MGM Lion roar.
A trademark protects a right to use any of these things - brand names, slogans, logos, sounds or smells exclusively in connection with the product or service they are associated with.