Standard Article

Trademarks, Proprietary Marks, and Brands

Part 1. Marketing Strategy

  1. Philip C. Zerrillo

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem01058

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Zerrillo, P. C. 2010. Trademarks, Proprietary Marks, and Brands. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 1.

Author Information

  1. Visiting Professor Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The modern day “brand” is an outgrowth of the trademark as well as the proprietary mark. While the former protected the makers of goods from those who would trade-off of their quality craftsmanship, the latter was used to protect the owners of goods and assist in sorting out who had rightful title in cases of shipwreck or piracy. Over time the primary emphasis of brand law has migrated from protecting the consumer from the tort of fraud, toward protecting the assets (brands) of the brand owner.

Brands serve a vital purpose for the modern firm as they distinguish the goods of one seller from those of another, and thus provide a basis for differentiation. This differentiation serves to reduce the importance of price in the customer decision process as the goods or services are not so easily compared. In reducing price sensitivity or, better yet, enhancing the price and volume premiums of the mark owner, the brand has great value to the firm and thus has equity. While brand equity is often a substantial portion of a firm's financial valuation, it must be maintained and cared for by continuous marketing efforts.


  • brand;
  • trademark;
  • proprietary mark;
  • brand asset;
  • brand value;
  • price;
  • brand strategy