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Trademarks

From a business perspective, it has been argued that trademarks are the most valuable form of intellectual property. They can be a combination of words, symbols and names, or just one of them. They can also be registered for each country, although some weight is given to established use. If a company has not registered its name but has used it for many years, that may be enough to prevent anyone else from using it, however, registration is the best protection. Trademarks are specific to certain wares, so it is possible for a restaurant, golf ball manufacturer and fruit juice brand to have the same registered name.

Like patents and copyright, a trademark gives the holder the right to prevent others from using the mark. Canadian trademarks last for 15-year terms, but may be reapplied upon term completion.

An interesting consequence of the World Wide Web relates to the use of domain names that contain registered trademarks, such as johndeere.com. While trademarks are country and ware specific, domain names are international and ubiquitous. There can be a different John Deere business in many countries, but only one johndeere.com therefore a complex area of intellectual property law is emerging about the use of ownership of domain names for business purposes.
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