A trademark is a legal differentiation from other products, as evidenced by some type of unique word, phrase, or symbol. A trademark exclusively identifies a product or service, and so is considered a key part of a branding effort by a business. In the United States, one can register a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Other countries have similar institutions. Once registered, a trademark gives the owner exclusive use of that form of differentiation.
The cost of a trademark can be recognized as an asset on an organization's balance sheet. As an asset, a trademark can be bought, sold, or licensed out for a period of time.