trademark basics

A trademark or servicemark is a unique sign or indicator utilized by a person, business, or other legal entity that indicates to consumers that the product or service in which the trademark appears originated from a unique source. This ensures that the general welfare of the public is protected from deceptive or fraudulent business practices that may lead the ordinary consumer to purchase goods or services under false pretenses. A trademark or service mark may be any word, phrase, symbol, design, logo, sound, or other unique indicator of origin that is used in association with the sale of goods or services.

 

TYPES OF MARKS

If a trademark has not been formally registered with the United States Patent & Trademark office, a trademark should be identified in at least the first instance of its use in every article of publication where it is used, by placing the superscript "TM" after the trademark.

A service mark has the same legal implications as a trademark, other than the fact that it is associated with the sale of services. As above, prior to registration before the USPTO, the mark should be utilized in at least the first instance of its use in every article of publication that it is used, by placing the superscript "SM" after the service mark.

A registered trademark or service mark is a mark that has been filed with the USPTO and has received an official certificate of registration. All registered marks should have the symbol ® adjacent to the mark whenever it is used in any setting, at least in the first instance of use in that setting.

STRATEGY WHEN CHOOSING A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK

A successful, strong and easy to protect mark will identify goods or services in a way that will leave a positive, favorable, and lasting impression in the minds of the consumers and will not be confusingly similar with the marks of competitors.

Generally speaking, marks that are considered "arbitrary" and have no meaning or connection to the goods or services are often robust and easily protected than marks that simply describe the goods or services being sold.