We almost never personally know the person who makes the things we buy and, yet, we blithely go into the world and buy stuff.
That would be insanely more difficult without trademarks.
Imagine a trip to the grocery store where the packages identify the contents with generic names but nothing else.
You liked the IPA you bought last week. Is the bottle that says “IPA” from the same brewery? That TP was soft and yet strong. I wonder if this package labeled “toilet paper” is the same stuff?
Maybe you fall back on knowing the grocer personally and that she stocks stuff only from reputable suppliers, but last week you bought three cans of tomato soup. They were all good, but one was creamier, just the way you like it. Here you are facing a shelf of cans marked “tomato soup.” Which have the soup you like?
It’s hard enough to imagine traditional commerce existing without trademarks, but how would e-commerce ever work? What good is a product review without branding? How much confidence would you have in the goods you’d receive from Amazon® or PeaPod® without being able to order by brand?
We sort of know how it would be. Not many people are comfortable ordering produce online because the brand doesn’t really tell you whether the item is overripe or has been mishandled.
Now imagine that every purchase was as involved as finding that perfect peach.
Trademarks are awesome.