"trademark" is a sign that is used to distinguish one's goods or services from those provided by others. As the economy, culture, and the market diversify, the types of trademarks may now include a packaging design, three-dimensional object, sound, or even a scent. In the Republic of China, a trademark refers to a sign consisting of any word, figure, symbol, color, sound, three-dimensional shape or any combination thereof. In addition, the minimum requirement of the trademark laws of every country is that a trademark must be recognizable to the general consumers as a trademark and is indicative of the source of the goods. Most generic names or direct or obvious descriptions of goods do not possess the characteristics of a trademark.
Legally, the registration of a trademark accords the right to eliminate other party's use of the same trademark or the right to license the same trademark to someone else. In addition to traditional trademarks labeled on the goods or their packaging and containers, trademarks may also include some special forms such as three-dimensional, color and sound trademarks.
Three-dimensional trademark: A three-dimensional trademark is a sign consisting of a three-dimensional shape formed in three-dimensional space, whereby consumers are capable of distinguishing the sources of different goods or services. For instance, if the shape of goods or the shape of their packaging or containers can identify the source of the goods, it can be registered as a three-dimensional trademark.
Color trademark: A color trademark is a single color that is applied, in whole or in part, to the surface of goods or the container or to the place of business where services are provided. If a color itself can adequately identify the source of goods or services, not in combination with a word, figure or symbol, it may be registrable as a color trademark.
Sound trademark: A sound trademark is a sound that can adequately allow relevant consumers to identify the source of certain goods or services. For instance, a short advertising jingle, rhythm, sound of human speaking, peal, bell ringing, or the call of an animal can be registered as a sound trademark.
What is a “collective trademark”?
As the term suggests, a "collective trademark" is a brand commonly used by the members of a group. It could be a farmers' association, a fishermen's association, or other associations that are eligible for filing an application for registration of a collective trademark. All goods or services produced/manufactured or provided by the association members may label the collective trademark to distinguish those goods or services from goods or services produced/manufactured or provided by others. A collective trademark is intrinsically still a trademark. However, the major difference between a collective trademark and a trademark is that a collective trademark is used by the members of a group in connection with goods or services, while a trademark is used by the registrant for identifying his/her own goods or services.
What is a “collective membership mark”?
A collective membership mark identifies the organization or membership of a business association, social organization, or any other group that exists as a juristic person; that is, a collective membership mark is a general membership mark. The Lions Club, the Rotary Club, and a political party are all eligible for filing an application to register a collective membership mark for identifying their organizations or memberships. A collective membership mark has no direct relationship with business activities related to goods or services, as it simply identifies the organization of the group itself or the membership of its members and will be displayed on relevant articles or documents, while a collective trademark identifies the goods or services provided by the members of the group using the trademark. They are different intrinsically.
What is a “certification mark”?
A certification trademark is a sign used to certify the characteristics, quality, precision, origin or other matters of another person's goods or services, e.g., the Taiwan fine product sign, UL electrical appliances safety sign, ST toy safety sign, and 100% wool sign, which are familiar to the average Taiwanese consumers. An applicant of a certification mark must be a juristic person, group or government agency that is capable of certifying an entity's goods or services. The use of a certification mark shall mean that the right holder of a certification mark, in order to certify the characteristics, quality, precision, origin or other matters of another person's goods or services, agrees to the person for displaying the certification mark on articles or documents in connection with the goods or services.