What’s the Difference Between a Service Mark and Trademark?

If you are a business owner, you may have heard of the terms “service mark” and “trademark” and wondered what they mean and how they differ. In this blog post, we will explain the basics of these two types of intellectual property rights and why they are important for your brand protection.

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If you are a business owner, you may have heard of the terms “service mark” and “trademark” and wondered what they mean and how they differ. In this blog post, we will explain the basics of these two types of intellectual property rights and why they are important for your brand protection.

What is a Service Mark?

A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, logo, or any combination of these that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service from those of others. For example, if you run a restaurant or a retail store, you may want to register your name and logo as a service mark to prevent other similar businesses from using them or confusing your customers.

It is important to note that a service mark is actually a type of trademark, which means it falls under the same legal framework and protection as trademarks. The only difference is that the term service mark exclusively refers to services whereas the term trademark, typically refers to goods or products (but can also be used when referring to services).

How to Register a Service Mark?

Since service marks are trademarks, registering a service mark is exactly the same as registering a trademark. You need to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can do this online through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You will need to provide information such as:

  • The name and address of the owner of the service mark

  • The name and description of the service mark

  • The date of first use and first use in commerce of the service mark

  • The class(es) of services for which the service mark is used

  • A specimen or sample of how the service mark is used in connection with the services

  • A filing fee

The USPTO will examine your application and determine if your service mark meets the requirements for registration. Some of these requirements include:

  • The service mark must be distinctive, meaning it must not be generic, descriptive, or confusingly similar to existing marks for similar goods or services

  • The service mark must not be deceptive or disparage any person or group

  • The service mark must not conflict with any federal or state laws or regulations

If your application is approved, you will receive a certificate of registration that grants you exclusive rights to use your service mark nationwide for the services specified in your application. You will also be able to use the symbol ® with your service mark to indicate that it is registered.

What are the Benefits of Registering a Service Mark?

Registering a service mark has several advantages for your business, such as:

  • It gives you legal protection against unauthorized use, infringement, dilution, or counterfeiting of your service mark by others

  • It allows you to sue anyone who violates your rights in federal court and seek damages, injunctions, or other remedies

  • It increases the value and reputation of your brand and enhances customer loyalty and trust

  • It enables you to license or assign your service mark to others for royalties or fees

  • It prevents others from registering similar or identical marks that may cause confusion or harm your goodwill

What’s the Difference Between a Service Mark and a Trademark?

The only difference between a service mark and a trademark is the type of goods or services they are used for. A service mark is used exclusively for services, while a trademark is used for goods or products. However, the term trademark can also be used to refer to your service mark.

If you need help with registering or enforcing your service mark or trademark, you can contact us. We are experts in trademark law and can assist you with any questions or issues you may have. We offer a free consultation and a flat fee for our services. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today and protect your brand identity.