A trademark is a creative or fanciful name or design, used to identify the owner of goods or services. Whereas copyright laws protect literary musical, dramatic, and other artistic intellectual property, trademark laws protect names, logos, or other (trade) marks associated with a business or individual.
The significance of a trademark is that it legally assures the owner’s right to use (and profit from) that trademark in association with the service or product he or she provides. The trademark also allows its owner to prevent others from using the same or a similar name or design. These exclusive rights are granted via the Federal Lanham Trademark Act, or by state trademark laws.
In the music industry, trademarks are most often used for the name of a record label or of a group, band, or artist. The trademark PolyGram Records, for example, identifies the corporate owner that manufactured U2’s records for many years. The trademark U2 identifies the band that provides musical entertainment services.