Definitions and meanings

Brand Name:

The brand name is a name given by the manufacturer to the product or service of their specific company. Usually, brand names are in capitalized form but in recent years they are also bi-capitalized like “eBay” or “iPod”.  The Brand name is used to reveal brand intention. It helps marketers to create a powerful brand identity or image of the product to position the product or brand in the minds of the target audience/segment.  The Brand name is an important task to be done before launching or positioning a product in the market or markets. We can also use inter-brand under the brand name to convey the key attributes or benefits of the product or service.


Trademark is also known as a service mark or intellectual property. It is linked with any kind of logo, sign, design or,  an expression used to identify a product or service of a certain source or company from those of others or competitors. If you have a registered trademark you can use the ® symbol with the mark or, words like TM (For goods) and SM (For services) is used with a mark in case you use the trademark as a “common law” trademark or service mark. Trademark can be owned by any individual, legal entity or, business organization. Trademark is used on the package, as a label or on the voucher and for corporate identity, it can be used or displayed on company buildings as well.

Difference between brand name and trademark:

The main difference between brand name and trademark has been detailed by the following points:

1. Fundamental concept

The brand name is a “memory heuristic” for consumers, a convenient and easy way to remember the preferred product or service.  The Brand name is an essential part of a brand. It is used to speak, write or, identify the product or service to distinguish from other similar products within a group/category. The fundamental concept of brand name should not be confused with the trademark. Trademark is linked with the commercial source or origin of the products or services. Conceptually, it is named as “badge of origin”. In simple words, the trademark is said to be a brand name or maybe the part of the brand name that is legally protected.

2. Types

There are many types of brand name some of them are i-e, Initialism (initials of anything), Descriptive (name with product benefits), Foreign word (word from another language), Founder’s name (names of real people), Combination(combining multiple words to make one).whereas, trademark owns its types as well i-e, service marks (source of goods), fanciful, arbitrary, and suggestive trademarks ( strongest and protected trademarks), merely descriptive, descriptive and generic (weakest trade marks), trade name (identifying company as a whole).

3. Legal difference

The Brand name is not a legal name. It’s just a name selected by the company for one of their products. Trademark on the other hand legally represents a business by its products and services.

4. Associated with

The Brand name is directly associated with culture, personality, vision, and reputation. Simply, the brand name helps to answer “what is company all about”. Trademark is associated with packaging, symbol, and color scheme. It will protect your brand so that competitors can’t use the same description which might confuse the consumer.

5. Limitations

The brand name is protected only in the state where your brand name is registered. It means that no one can use your brand name in the same state but you can’t prevent other states to use certain brand name maybe in a different type of company or industry. Trademark is that intellectual property that protects your brand identity by legally demonstrating that your mark is not already being used anywhere else. It also gives government protection.

6. Length of use

There is no specified length of use for a brand name unless and until your brand name is restricted at the local level or, due to non-registration of brand name it is being used by someone else.  According to U.S patent and trademark registration office, a trademark can be used for 10 years and is protected until that time. This 10 year period includes “renew between fifth and sixth year following registration and within the year before the end of every 10 year by filing an Affidavit of use”.

Brand name vs trademark – tabular comparison

A comparison of brand name and trademark in tabular form is given below:

Brand name vs Trademark
Fundamental concept
Easy way to remember the product contrary to competitor’s product or brand. Conceptually, It is a source of origin of any product or service.
Initialism, descriptive, founder’s name, foreign words, combination Trademarks, merely descriptive, descriptive and generic, trade name
Legal difference
Brand name is not a legal name. It is simple product name given by company or business Trademark also known as legal name or legal mark of the company or business
Associated with
Associated with culture, personality, vision, and reputation. Associated with description, packaging, and color scheme.
Length of use
There is no specific length of use. There is a specific length of use that is 10 years according to U.S patent and trademark registration office.
Only protected up to the state level. Trademark is not only protected up to the state level. It protects your product/brand identity by establishing that the mark is not being used before.

Conclusion – brand name vs trade mark:

Both above discussed terms are valuable asset for any business or company. These two, “brand name and trademark” are being confused as single term. Many companies get to know that their brand name is being used by any other company or business but, you can’t avoid this situation unless and until you have your company trademark. Trademark is used to protect the brand name of the business or company.