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What is the Difference between a Service Mark and a Trademark?

Service marks are trademarks that are used in the sale of services instead of goods. Otherwise, trademarks and service marks are in all respects identical.

What Constitutes a Service Mark?

A service mark is a word, phrase, or device which is more than simply the business name of an enterprise. Mere status as a business name is not enough to qualify as a service mark. The test is the use to which the mark is put; the mark must do more than identify the enterprise as a business organization- it must identify and distinguish the services rendered.

Can You Register a Service Mark?

There is some question whether a service mark can be registered when the service is primarily promoting the sale of specific goods. As long as the service is a legitimate one and the effect on the sale of goods is only minor, there is no reason to refuse registration.

Can an Owner Own a Mark as Both a Service Mark and a Trademark?

An owner may own a mark as both if it is used in both ways. For example, the owner of a radio or television program title can register the title as both a service mark and a trademark even though the use of the mark would be for the promotion of specific goods.

Should I Consult a Lawyer about my Trademark Issue?

The deadlines and regulations for trademark registration are detailed and strict. A lawyer can help you meet all the deadlines and fulfill all the requirements. A lawyer can also participate in on-going research to make certain no one else is using or diluting your trademark without your permission. Additionally, if you have an issue of trademark dilution or infringement, a lawyer can guide you through the difficult and strict procedural requirements for litigation and bring out the core of your case.

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Last Modified: 01-11-2012 04:40 PM PST

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