Trademark: any word, name, symbol, figure, letter, or 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. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
Service mark: word, name, symbol, figure, letter, or 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.
Trademarks are generally distinctive brands that sellers affix to distinguish and identify the origin of their products. Trademark status may also be granted to distinctive and unique packaging, color combinations, building designs, product styles, and overall presentations. It is also possible to receive trademark status for identification that is not on its face distinct or unique but which has developed a secondary meaning over time that identifies it with the product or seller. The owner of a trademark has exclusive right to use it on the product it was intended to identify and often on related products. Service-marks receive the same legal protection as trademarks but are meant to distinguish services rather than products.
Benefits of Registration of a Mark
The specific benefits accorded a mark registered with the USPTO are:
- 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;
- jurisdiction of the federal courts to uphold the registrant’s claim to the mark;
- registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries; and
- ability to file the registration with U. S. Customs and Border Protection Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign material.