According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services. It distinguishes you in the marketplace from your competitors. A service mark is essentially the same as a trademark; however, a service mark identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a good or product.
A trademark/service mark is typically the most valuable asset of a business. A trademark has several benefits. Some of the advantages of a trademark/service mark include:
- Exclusive right to use
- Protects against Federal registration of the same or confusingly similar mark
- Helps you guard against counterfeiting and fraud
- Allows you/your business the right to use the ® symbol, so long as the mark is used in connection with the goods and services identified in your trademark/service mark registration
- Provides legal protection for your brand
- Denies others the right to claim that their subsequent use of the same mark was used in “good faith”
- Enhanced remedies for infringement (i.e., if successful, you can receive treble (3X) damages, costs and attorney's fees if you successfully defend against infringement)
A trademark/service mark is a valuable asset to any business. It increases the value of your business and can be sold, assigned, and even licensed. A trademark lasts forever, contingent upon the owner taking action to protect it and renew it, as scheduled.