Skip to main content
What is a Trademark?

While the USPTO does use the term trademark to denote businesses offering goods or services, there is a distinction between a trademark and a service mark. To be clear, there is no difference between trademarks or service marks when it comes to needing comprehensive research or filing a Federal application. All of that remains the same.

For the most part determining if you're offering goods or services is pretty simple. For instance, toys are a tangible good therefore Mattel® is technically a trademark while tax preparation is a service there H&R Block® is technically a service mark.

There are plenty of companies that have both. Nike®, for one, offers a line of branded goods as well as retail store services, therefore, they technically hold a service mark / trademark combination.
Where folks get confused when it comes to trademarks is mistaking products or goods for services. Let's take a look at the USPTO's criteria for determining what is or isn't a trademark.

The term "trademark" includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof-

(1) used by a person, or


(2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this Act, to identify and distinguish his or her goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if that source is unknown.

Essentially, one can take this to mean that the owner of the trademark is either 1) CURRENTLY selling the product in association with the word, name, symbol or device in 2 or more states, OR 2) WILL, in the future, be selling the product in association with the word, name, symbol or device in 2 or more states.


This can be translated to: you must sell a product, displaying the word, name, symbol, or device, which is your UNIQUE product. For example, in the instance of clothing, you can not purchase a Hanes® tshirt and merely print a name across the front and call that your UNIQUE product. The USPTO would consider that shirt a product of Hanes® that you have merely made ornamental.


In the case of either trademark or service marks, keep in mind that merely displaying the symbol next to the word, name, symbol, or device does not create or denote any level of protection unless the application has been filed: "The presence of the letters 'SM' or 'TM' cannot transform an otherwise unregistrable designation into a mark."

- Mention our blog & receive $25 off of our Premium Package -
- Put BLOG in the Contact Name field -

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…

Beware of Official-y Correspondence

Once you get that trademark filed be aware that your information is of public record, which means, unfortunately, some will mine that resource & some of those folks will send you solicitations. 
These solicitations often look very official, and "may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one or more of the terms "United States," “U.S.,” "Trademark," "Patent," "Registration," "Office," or "Agency."  
Some will even have documents that resemble actual government documents rather than what you'd expect a company to send and this is often done by "emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records."
Most of these are asking you for money. That's your major warning flag.
"All official correspondence will be from the …

$50 Discount: Ends Wednesday, July 20th - Mention the Blog When Ordering

$50 DISCOUNT! Exclusively for you Comprehensive Research & Analysis: Federal/State Trademark & Common-Law Federal Trademark Application Order by Wednesday, July 20! 800-776-0530

So, you finally settled on the perfect name for your product or service – that's fantastic! Finding just the right name is vitally important to the success of any product line or service.
Or, perhaps, we've already searched & filed a trademark for you. If it's been a couple of years, have you had protective research conducted? Do you have a logo or a slogan or a new product/service name?
Regardless if you're new to the world of trademarks or have already gone 'round once, let's walk through a quick primer. Protecting your brand is a vital part of your overall business plan.
Trademark Step-by-Step Primer
1) Is it required that I register my trademark?
No, not at all. However, registering your trademark, specifically your Federal trademark, does provide you with several advantages:
* Pu…