Trademarks and service marks are a crucial component of starting your own business. If you want to protect your intellectual property, you need to apply for a trademark or apply for a service mark, depending on your particular business model. But, the trademark application process and patent application process can be quite confusing to navigate. Learn all about trademarks and service marks in the guide below. That way, you can make the right decisions that will protect your ideas and your income potential for years to come.
What is a trademark? A trademark is an official legal designation that protects a product. Trademarks protect a business’s products from being misused or misidentified by any other entity. When you own a trademark, you own the rights to that product. Your future business will be the only one that can use the name of that product in any capacity. It will also grant sole rights to sales to your business as well. Of course with a trademarked product, you can still choose to sell your product wholesale to other retailers. Trademarks protect names, products and logos. This is an important distinction for entrepreneurs to note before you try to apply for a trademark to trademark your business products.
What is a service mark? How is a service mark different from a trademark? A service mark is similar to a trademark in that it is a legal designation that protects your business’s intellectual property. A service mark is different from a trademark in that protects services and service based business, rather than products. Your business slogan, for example, is one such service that is protected by a service mark. Service marks are any slogans, keywords, jingles or otherwise that distinguish your business from another. In order to protect those business distinctions, you will need to get a service mark for your business. This is separate from any other trademarks entrepreneurs may require for business protection. Remember these differences when you are applying for a service mark to protect your intellectual business property.
How Do I Register?
Many entrepreneurs need to know “how do i register a trademark or service mark?” Regardless of whether you are trademarking business property or getting a service mark for business property, it is important to consider hiring an attorney to help you navigate the process. The process is complicated. And, one simple mistake can jeopardize your entire service mark application. Trademark service mark differences can further complicate the application process and increase the likelihood of a rejection. Hiring a patent lawyer will help you choose whether to register a trademark or service mark to protect your business and make it easier to get approved. Bear this in mind before you waste time trying to figure out the trademark service mark differences and which to apply for on your own.
Neither Is Necessary
Registering a trademark or service mark is not required by law or mandatory for business in any capacity. In fact, many businesses opt to limit expenses and save money by not registering trademarks or service marks. However, there are significant advantages to doing so that entrepreneurs must keep in mind. Registering a federal trademark service mark notifies the public of your business properties. That helps boost brand awareness for business. In addition, it provides a legal pathway to protect your future business in the event that your intellectual property is stolen or compromised in any way. While entrepreneurs do not require federally registered service marks or trademarks to operate a compliant business, there are still numerous advantageous reasons to consider taking the time to formally register your business’s intellectual property.
Enforcing Your Rights
Entrepreneurs should also remember that there is no one there policing your trademarks and service marks. If you want to enforce your rights as a future owner of registered intellectual property, you need to do so on your own. You, the entrepreneur, are responsible for finding and reporting any trademark infringements to protect your business. This is not something that is policed by the USPTO on your behalf. Bear that in mind, and be proactive when you notice a service mark infringement against your business or its products.
All entrepreneurs struggle to navigate the trademark service mark patents process in the beginning stages of business, especially when it comes time to figure out what a provisional patent is. It can be a very complicated endeavor. Use the trademark service mark guide above to help you figure out how to protect your business’s intellectual property. Trademarks and service marks protect different types of business properties. They are not federally required. However, it would be wise to hire a patents and trademarks lawyer to experience the legal protections afforded when you get approved for a trademark. Just remember that you will need to enact those legal protections on your own should your intellectual property get stolen or compromised in the future. Use this trademark service mark distinction guide to help you figure out the best way to protect your business, and you are sure to be the sole beneficiary of the profits from your hard-fought business success.