Nice and simple: the IP Translator case


The purpose of trademarks is to identify the goods or services offered by a party and to differentiate those goods or services from those of others.

A trademark assists both parties in a trade and enables prospective customers to identify what goods or services are offered by a particular party. This makes it reasonable to assume that only one party can use a particular trademark for a particular purpose. To allow otherwise would counteract the very purpose for which a trademark is employed.

If only one party can use a particular mark, how should that use be defined, and how broadly should the rights of a trademark extend? For example, a company decided to use the term Polo for mints. Should its rights to Polo be restricted to that single good, or should that company be able to prevent another company from using Polo for clothing, or for cars? This shows that it is sensible to allow a particular individual, company or party to secure rights to a trademark, but that it is also sensible to limit the goods or services that a trademark can cover.

Limiting the goods or services that a trademark can cover requires definitions for both the trademark itself and the goods or services that it covers. This benefits those that provide the goods or services and their customers, because those in a trade will be able to find out whether a trademark is free and they will be able to prevent others from using it.

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