trademarks

What is a trademark or service mark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design (or a combination of these) used by a business that identifies it as the source of the goods and distinguishes its goods from those of other businesses.

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this guide, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Should I register my mark?

Why spend the time and money to apply for registration of the mark? Owning a federal trademark registration can provide several advantages:

  • constructive notice to the public of the registrant’s claim of ownership of the mark;
  • a legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
  • the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
  • the use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and
  • the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.