A trademark is word(s), phrase(s), symbol(s), or design(s) that distinguishes the source of a product from one originator from those of another. A service mark is the same as trademark except that it distinguishes the source of a service. An infrigment oocurs when somebody uses or mimics an existing trademark or service mark to represent another product or service so that others are misled into believing they are purchasing the original product or service. It is not necessary to register a logo mark. A user can establish rights with mark based on its legitimate use. However, owning federal trademark registration has advantages:
- Providing legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and exclusive right to use the mark and the ability to bring legal action concerning misuse of the mark.
- The right to obtain registration in foreign countries and ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent important of infringing foreign goods.
- Ability to display notice to the public of claim of ownership through the use of the ®️symbol.
Users can use the symbols ™️ (Trademark) and SM (Service mark) to alert the public to their slim fo rights to a mark, regardless of whether and application has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, the federal registration symbol®️ can only be used after the USPTO actually registers a mark and not while and application is pending. The registration symbol can only be used with the mark on, or in connection with, the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.
Registering a trademark or service mark requires filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
USPTO at Commissioner for Trademarks
2900 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-3514
(703)-308-9000 (Trademark Assitance Center)
Although not required, using a private trademark attorney for legal advice in filling an application may help you avoid many potential pitfalls. Additionally several free legal resources maybe helpful in the process. You may also consult free legal resources pertaining to your specific state of residence.
List of free legal resources: Nola (Nolo.com)
Online library of do-it-yourself legal books and software for simple legal matters.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (vlany.org)
A New-York – based organization that offers volunteer legal services to arts organizations and individual artist nationwide.
The Graphic Design Reference + Specification Book – Poppy Evans + Aaris Sherin