Trademark Examples

service mark definition

If your company sells an item or multiple items, you’d need to trademark the mark used to represent the business. If you have a company that provides a service, focus on the service mark. Whereas trademarks identify the source of goods‚ service marks denote the source of services. A business may utilize a service mark to refer to any commercial service from pet grooming to legal representation.

service mark definition

A well-known example of a service mark is “Geek Squad‚” which identifies a national computer repair and troubleshooting company. Though service marks are technically distinct from trademarks‚ they receive the same protection and have similar requirements for registration. To achieve trademark status‚ rather than placing products bearing the trademark into the stream of commerce‚ the trademark holder must offer services‚ using the service mark as an identifier‚ to be able to obtain protection. Registration applications must be based on your business’s current or intended use of a trademark for products or services. For products, the PTO considers using trademarks on goods, containers and in displays acceptable.

A licensed attorney may be required to interpret the search results. As trademarks are governed by federal law, state law, and common law, a thorough search as to the availability of a mark is very important. The USPTO internally captures more information about trademarks than what they publicly disclose on their official search website, such as the complete contents of every logo trademark filing. The two symbols associated with trademarks, ™ (the trademark symbol) and ® (the registered trademark symbol), represent the status of a mark and accordingly its level of protection.

Registering your mark in this area of the U.S. also provides you with a filing date, which counts as the date of first use in the state of Massachusetts, helping solidify your claim if you plan to file for a federal trademark. A trademark is a word‚ name‚ phrase‚ logo‚ or symbol used to identify the source of products or services and distinguish those products from others. It is highly recommended that a trademark be registered, but trademark rights can also be acquired by common law. For more information on registering a trademark, see our trademark registration page.

What is a service mark example?

Service marks and trademarks are considered intellectual property. This generally refers to assets that do not have physical form. Examples are ideas, images, songs and sounds. Service mark registration protects both your business and the public. For your business, registration enables you to fight infringement.

The benefit of using the symbols associated with trademarks and service marks is that both inform competitors of your plan to use the mark for your business. If a similar company is considering making a change to its logo, phrase, symbol, design, or word associated with the goods or services, seeing one of these symbols on your mark might reduce the chances of duplication. You’re not legally required to register your trademark to assert that you own it, and trademarks are actually strengthened by frequent use. For this reason, many people choose to use their trademarks before registering them.

In this situation, you can register a trademark that already exists, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers a registration form for trademarks that are already in use. Prior to registering your trademark, you can use the “TM” symbol next to the mark to indicate that you intend to assert your trademark rights to the item. There are a few items to keep in mind when considering registering a state trademark. The registration will only protect the trademark in the state you registered it in.

The bureau responsible for overseeing federal trademark registration is the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering a logo with the USPTO offers the trademark holder certain presumptions, such as the presumption of validity. A federally registered mark is presumed to be valid; this means the company does not need to prove superior use when confronted by a logo that is the same as — or confusingly similar to — its own.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will charge anywhere between $225 to $400 to register a trademark for a name depending on the method you choose and the class of your business. When hiring an attorney or legal service, expect to pay an additional $199 to $2,000 to have them complete the trademark name registration for you. In the United States, the registration process includes several steps.

However, unregistered trademarks with the USPTO are only trademarked within the company’s geographical area. Trademark rights for an unregistered mark belong to the company that first used the mark. Use the trademark symbol (TM) for a trademark that isn’t registered with the USPTO. The average cost to trademark a name is $424 with most homeowners spending between $275 to $660 total which includes registration and filing fees.

It’s not as expensive to register a trademark with the state as it is to register with the USPTO. A state trademark registration often gets processed and approved faster than a federal registration.

A registered trademark offers legal protection to unique logos and designs affixed to a tangible object. For this reason, you can’t file to register a trademark that someone else is already using if they used the trademark first. However, if someone else is using your trademark or you used the mark first, you may be able to contest the trademark.

You can identify both USPTO-registered service marks and trademarks by the ® symbol. An unregistered service mark gets identified by SM rather than TM. The registration process for trademarks and service marks is the same. You don’t have to register a word with the USPTO to get trademark status. A word is a trademark if that word identifies a brand, regardless of whether the word itself is registered.

Trademarks are primarily used on products (i.e. goods), while service marks are employed to label services. Both TM and SM can be used prior to registration with the federal trademark office (USPTO). Once a trademark or a service mark is registered, the (R) in a circle is used to indicate that the trademark has been registered. The use of the symbols TM (trademark for goods) and SM (service mark for services) is recommended to claim the rights on unregistered marks that have not been used by others in commerce. There are different symbols to indicate trademark status– “TM” for trademark, “SM” for service mark and an encircled “R” for registered.

  • Both TM and SM can be used prior to registration with the federal trademark office (USPTO).
  • Trademarks are primarily used on products (i.e. goods), while service marks are employed to label services.
  • Once a trademark or a service mark is registered, the (R) in a circle is used to indicate that the trademark has been registered.


This registration doesn’t allow you to use the symbol ®, but you can use SM to indicate a service mark or TM to indicate a trademark. Trademarks offer the owner protections against the unauthorized use of any symbol, words, phrases, or identifying elements of a business that are unique and specific to your brand identity. There are two ways to file for trademark protection in the United States. The most well-known of these is to register a federal trademark under the Lanham Act. This provides protection over a mark not just throughout the United States but across all its possessions and territories.

Gaining Common Law Protections

If trademark owners do not hold registrations for their marks in such jurisdictions, the extent to which they will be able to enforce their rights through trademark infringement proceedings may be limited. In order to use the registered symbol, a business or individual must file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before submitting an application, those involved should carefully review existing service marks and trademarks in the registry. You can perform a search through theTrademark Electronic Search System(TESS). A trademark offers legal protection for a symbol, logo, phrase, word, design, orname that represents goods or products.A service mark, or servicemark, offers similar protection for services.

They will appear as superscripts after the item they are protecting. The trademark superscript, ™, is usually used for an unregistered trademark to protect a word, phrase, or logo, etc. as a from other potential users. Use of the “TM” symbol does not, however, ensure that it is protected under trademark law. Similarly, use of the “SM” symbol does not ensure that it is protected under trademark law. Legal protection is guaranteed with the registered mark, “®”.

Service Mark Overview

Customs and Border Protection to prevent your products from being illegally imported in foreign ports. When a service mark is federally registered, the standard registration symbol ® or “Reg U.S. Pat & TM Off” may be used (the same symbol is used to mark registered trademarks). Before it is registered, it is common practice (with some legal standing) to use the service mark symbol ℠ (a superscript SM). Trademarks are word, phrase, or symbol, which represent a company or product.

Acceptable uses of trademarks for services are in displays or advertisements. You may use the trademark symbol “TM” on your products or to describe your services without filing for registration, but you may not use the trademark registration symbol until you file an application and the PTO reviews and approves it. Registration protects your trademark from being used or duplicated by third parties. As the owner, you’re given exclusive rights to use your trademark with the products or services you provide. You can use your federal trademark registration to register your business abroad, an advantage for small business owners looking to compete in global markets.

Why Is Registering Your Service Mark Important?

This requires registration through the USPTO and it is highly recommended to have a trademark attorney assist you with the process. In some jurisdictions, trademark rights can be established through either or both means. ] generally do not recognize trademarks rights arising merely through use.

Trademark law can be complicated, and most people opt to hire attorneys when they contest trademarks. This involves registering a single word as a trademark with the U.S. A trademark is a word, phrase, sign, symbol, or logo used to identify a product’s owner. Trademarks give exclusive rights to a person or company to use a specific mark within an industry. In the United States the USPTO maintains a database of registered trademarks.

If you were filing for registration of your trademark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, your company may receive material advantages. All registered marks (trademarks and service marks) are on the Division website, so members of the public are aware of the trademark owner’s claim on the mark.

While ™ can be used with any common law usage of a mark, ® may only be used by the owner of a mark following registration with the relevant national authority, such as the U.S. The proper manner to display either symbol is immediately following the mark in superscript style. A trademark attorney will search USPTO databases as well as unregistered “common law” trademarks that could impede your ability to register your name. Attorneys can also determine the most suitable way to describe your products or services, as well as the appropriate classes and categories to register your trademark under. At the federal level, the Lanham Act controls trademarks and registration of trademarks.

Under United States law, service marks have a different standard of use in order to count as a use in commerce, which is necessary to complete registration and to stop infringement by competitors. A trademark normally needs to be used on or directly in association with the sale of goods, such as on a store display. As services are not defined by a concrete product, use of a service mark on the uniforms or vehicles of service providers or in advertisements is instead accepted as a use in commerce. However, like trademarks, service marks must pass a test of distinctiveness for it to be qualified as a service mark.

They distinguish the products or services of one company or organization from those its competitors may provide. People can register trademarks to legally protect the rights to their creations, or intellectual property. Some other examples of trademarks include acronyms (like NBC, IBM) and extend to slogans, stylized fonts, and even colors. Read on to understand why trademarks are important and to see a list of trademark examples.