A trademark is basically a brand. It can be a word(s), symbol or device affixed to a product used to identify and distinguish the goods of one seller from that of another and to indicate the source of such goods in order to prevent consumer confusion.
I pride myself as a savvy consumer, not easily fooled in this age of millions of branded products. However, the other day I was in my neighborhood Westport, CT grocery store checking out the grapefruit, the first of the season, and picked up a few labeled rubyred. Now having practiced law in South Texas I remembered how distinctively red and delicious were those ruby red grapefruit and stuck a few in my basket. Upon arriving home. I could barely wait to slice one open. Was I disappointed. The meat was pinkish instead of red and less tart to the taste than I recalled from my days enjoying Texas ruby reds. So I looked again at the label and saw Florida. Here was a case of confusion as to source. Had not the Texas growers protected their ruby red brand through TM registration? I went to the Wiki (encyclopedia not grocery) and found that ruby red grapefruit was patented in 1929. While the red grapefruit, starting with the Ruby Red, had become the symbolic fruit of Texas, it is the Rio Red variety of Texas grapefruit with registered trademarks Rio Star and Ruby-Sweet, sometimes promoted as “Reddest” and “Texas Choice” that is the dark, bloody red grapefruit I favored rather than the current ruby reds from Florida.
So when it comes to brand protection, a valid and enforceable trademark is imperative even if this savvy consumer is sometimes confused.