What is a trademark?

A trademark is any sign used to distinguish a trader’s goods or services from those of its competitors. The sign may be a word or words, a symbol or device, a label, a color or colors, a shape or 3-D shapes, or any two of these elements used in combination. As from April 2015, a motion, hologram, a sound, and position mark can be registered as trademark in Japan. Properly used and promoted, a trade mark may become the most valuable asset of a business. Trade marks such as TOYOTA and APPLE are household names and serve as indications of origin of the goods as well as indications of quality.