also trade-mark, 1838 (the thing itself attested continuously from 14c., apparently originally the watermarks on paper), from trade (n.) + mark (n.1) in a specialized sense of "stamp, seal, brand, etc. placed upon an article top indicate ownership or origin" (mid-13c.). Figurative use by 1869. As a verb, from 1904. Related: Trademarked; trademarking. This sense of mark also yielded the meaning "particular brand or make of an article" (1660s), hence its use in 20c. names of cars, etc., Mark I, Mark II, etc.
updated on November 25, 2018