A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks comprising marks which do not fall into these standard categories, such as those based on color, smell, or sound.
The owner of a trademark may initiate legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark. Most countries require formal registration of a trademark as a precondition for pursuing this type of action. A few countries, including the United States and Canada, also recognize common law trademark rights, which means action can be taken to protect a trademark that is in use but not registered. Generally, common law trademarks do not offer the holder as much legal protection as registered trademarks.