Intellectual Property: Who Needs to Apply for Service Marks?

Intellectual property spans many different items you may create for your business to promote your brand, or products you may invent that could become extremely valuable in the future. While many consumers perceive intellectual property as being a complex matter, branding mechanisms are fairly simple to understand; however, when it comes to protecting your intellectual property you should consult with an experienced business attorney who has had experience with whatever type of intellectual property you want to register.

Copyrights are a very common type of intellectual property, and many people get them confused with trademarks, or service marks. Copyrights protect artistic expressions that are created such as music or literature, or in terms of technology or business—software or architecture. Trademarks are vital to branding, and along with that usually comes a symbol that designates your business, allowing for familiarity with the public that is or will be buying your products. The trademark is an identifier of the goods you offer.

Service marks are a subset of the copyright, but rather than designating products, they are a symbol of the services you offer. The TM is used after a trademark, while the SM is used after a service mark; for either, the ‘R’ encased by a circle is important as it designates formal registration. This is important not only so that customers understand what services are offered, but by which company, and that the mark is protected legally.

The interesting detail about intellectual property is that ownership is technically established as soon as you make your own logo or your own slogan—or after you write that cookbook, a score of music, create new software, or invent something new. The problem is protecting it fully. If someone decides to steal your work intentionally, or if they create something similar—so similar that it is going to affect sales and distribution of your own work, for instance—having registered your intellectual property could be well worth it in case you have to communicate with the other party about ceasing activities revolving around such work, or worse, if you must sue them for infringement with the help of your attorney and take them to court.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

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