We tend to call these things marks. There are two basic types of marks: trademarks and service marks. Trademarks are associated with goods, while service marks are associated with services. We should mention that there are also certification marks, collective trademarks and service marks, and collective membership marks. These types of marks are relatively rare.
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
A certification mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce with the owner’s permission by someone other than its owner, to certify regional or other geographic origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of someone's goods or services, or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.
A collective mark is a trademark or service mark used, or intended to be used, in commerce, by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, including a mark which indicates membership in a union, an association, or other organization.
In the "marks" world we tend to think about words, symbols, letters, slogans, designs, features of packaging, color combinations, animations and even sounds. Any of these could be used as trademarks or service marks.
There are a number of things you may need to learn about Trademarks. We will try to cover all of those in a series of articles that are shown on this trademark menu page.