Trademark v Service Mark: Do I Need Both?

Intellectual property can be so confusing that many of us struggle to understand the delineation between the trademark, copyright, or patent, and all the different applications, registrations, and approvals that must be met simply to protect our branding mechanisms, our work, and our ‘artistic expressions,’ often which may have great value. The choices—and the process for registering can be complicated, which is why you should consult with an experienced attorney from the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible.

The trademark is unusual as it also encompasses the service mark. For dynamic businesses of today participating in a world economy (and especially with the advent of the internet and online marketing and shopping), one or the other may be critical for marketing purposes. The trademark is one of the most common forms of intellectual property. Like all other types of intellectual property, it becomes yours as soon as the IP comes into existence; in other words, as soon as you create a mark designating the product that your company sells, you are in full ownership of it. Questions only arise should someone infringe on your creation, and then you are forced to ask them to cease and desist, or take further legal action.

More specifically, the service mark helps customers recognize the services that you offer—and because of the separation between the service mark and the trademark, familiarizing consumers with your products, it is completely possible that you could need both in terms of branding your company. Again, your intellectual property attorney can help you search whether or not there are other identical or extremely similar marks already out there that could cause your application to be rejected. If the mark is considered to be obscene or if it contains a symbol that could be the same or similar to that of a government seal of any sort, it may also be rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Filling out the proper applications and registration for any type of intellectual property can be arduous, sometimes expensive, and the approval process may take a long time. Because of this, you should have the help of your intellectual property attorney, who can educate you fully on the process as well as discussing your true needs in terms of IP protection.

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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