Most countries protect both trademarks and service marks. The Paris Convention also defines collective marks. However, the laws concerning collective marks vary in many countries. For example, German law indicates that the registration of a collective mark may be cancelled if that mark is used contrary to the provisions of the regulations contained in the application or in a manner that misleads the public.
The definition of a certification mark is not the same in all countries. Trademark protection generally extends to six different forms of marks:
- Words, letters or numerals
- Drawings or symbols
- Composite marks
- Three-dimensional marks
- Sound marks
- Scent marks (the U.S. is the only country that has recognized a scent mark)
Most countries do provide a trademark register and provide full trademark protection after registration. However, trademark use is also important. In use-based countries, the registration of a trademark merely confirms that a party has acquired the rights to the trademark(s). In such systems, it is the party who has used the mark first that will win a trademark dispute.
Trademark owners are generally given the right to use the mark by affixing it on goods, containers, packaging, labels, etc. Trademark owners are also generally given the right to prevent confusingly similar uses of the mark at issue.