Definition of Trademark

Definition of Trademark - The trademark can be a symbol, it can be a design, it can be a single word or it can be a phrase that identifies the source of the goods of one party from those of another.definiton_of_trademark

For example, it is what differentiates Campbell's soups from Progresso soups or IBM from Dell Computer. A service mark is the same as a trademark, but it identifies a particular service that one company or individual performs from another company or individual.

When you visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on the web or in person, it uses the term "mark" to refer to both trademark and service mark. Do not confuse copyrights, trademarks and patents. Had Thomas Edison, for example, trademarked or copyrighted the electric light bulb rather than patenting it, some other smart person would have patented the electric light bulb. The copyright protects an original literary or artistic work while a patent protects an invention.

How To Trademark a Name?
  1. The first thing you need to do is to determine the type of intellectual property you need to protect.
  2. If you need a trademark, you must understand the rules that govern your trademark application. There are videos you can watch at the Trademark Office website.
  3. Review all frequently asked questions at the office to get a full understanding of what you need to do.
  4. Look at the timeline involved so that you have an understanding of how long the process takes.
  5. Before you spend money on an application, search the trademarks database to see if someone else has already trademarked the term. You can also visit the Trademark Public Search Library in Washington but it is a lot easier to do it on line.
  6. If you think something might conflict with your concept, you need to visit TARR (Trademark Application and Retrieval Database). To access information on TARR, you need a serial number or registration number.
  7. You must supply a statement of the goods or services for which the mark will be used.
  8. You may want to consult with the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP), which contains all the rules and regulations used to determine a trademark.
  9. File the application for the trademark you seek.
  10. If you file online you will be notified by email and be given a serial number for the application.
  11. When corresponding in the future about this application, always use the serial number assigned to you.
  12. An examining trademark attorney will check the application and either okay the trademark or reject it. This could take several months.
  13. If the application is rejected for minor things, the attorney will contact the applicant. If it is major, a letter stating why the application has been rejected will be issued.
  14. This trademark, if okayed, must be used in commerce in a specific amount of time.

Do you have to register a trademark?

IN a word...no. You can establish rights in a mark based on use of the mark in commerce, without a registration. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, including:

  • Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
  • A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
  • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
  • The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
  • The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
  • The right to use the federal registration symbol ®; and

  • Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office's online databases.

Critical Links

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Search Trademarks Online

How Do You Contact the Canadian Patent and Trademark Office?

General Information About Trademarks

Where to Get a Patent or Trademark Application?

Can You Trademark a Domain Name?

Can You Trademark a Company Name?

What Are the Trademark Rules?

Check Status of Trademark Application

Trademark FAQs

Trademark Videos

Can You Trademark Logos?

Is There a Free Search Trademark Mechanism That You Can Use to Check for Trademarks of What You Want to Protect?

Other Trademark Key Terms to Search

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