What is a trademark or service mark?
In short, a trademark is a brand name. A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
Must all marks be registered? No, but federal registration has several advantages, including a notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.
What We Can Do to Help You Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Filing a trademark application at the USPTO starts a legal proceeding. Most applicants hire a private attorney who specializes in trademark matters to represent them in the application process and provide legal advice. Mableson Law Group can help you before, during, and after the trademark application process, including policing and enforcing any trademark registration that may issue. While you are not required to have an attorney, an attorney may save you from future costly legal problems by conducting a comprehensive search of federal registrations, state registrations, and “common law” unregistered trademarks before you file your application. Comprehensive searches are important because other trademark owners may have protected legal rights in trademarks similar to yours that are not federally registered. Therefore, those trademarks will not appear in the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database but could still ultimately prevent your use of your mark. In addition, we can help you during the application process with several things that could seriously impact your trademark rights, such as determining the best way to describe your goods and services and preparing responses to refusals to register that an examining attorney may issue. Finally, we can also assist in the policing and enforcement of your trademark rights. The USPTO only registers trademarks. You as the trademark owner are responsible for any enforcement.
Mableson Law Group knows how to protect your brand identity and can advise you in all aspects of choosing a mark that is not confusing similar to your competitor’s mark, filing an application, and post-registration issues. We also handle:
- Trademarks & Servicemarks
- Trademark searches and availability
- Trademark Registration and Maintenance
- Trademark ownership disputes
- Licensing, transfer and assignments
- Trademark License Agreements
- Trademark Infringement Lawsuits
Trademark, Patent, or Copyright?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
A copyright protects original works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.
A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Patents are prepared by registered Patent Attorneys.
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