Questions and Answers About Trademarks and Service Marks

Trademark and Service Mark Registration

Does your business have a trademark or service mark? You may want to register your "brand" name to keep it safe from theft. Learn the difference between a trademark and a service mark, the benefits of registration, how to search for existing trademarks, about the trademark registration process, about using an attorney to register a trademark or service mark, and when you get to use the "R" designation.

Two articles explain how to register a trademark - in the U.S., and internationally. And note the new reduced costs of registering a trademark and a new process, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

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

Trademark Questions and Answers
All About Trademarks and Service Marks. Alex Slobodkin/Getty Images
This article provides definitions for the terms "trademark" and "service mark" and discusses the differences between the two terms. Basically, a trademark is for products, while a service mark is for services.  More

What's the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?

 Copyrights are for artistic works, while trademarks and service marks are for brands, logos, and ways to make your business unique.  More

When May You Use the (R) mark on a Trademark or Service Mark?

Learn about the {R} symbol for trademarks and copyrights and when you may use this symbol. The TM and SM symbols are used when a trademark or service mark has been applied for. The (R) symbol is used only when the trademark or service mark has been granted.  More

What are the Benefits of Registering a Trademark or Service Mark?

Why should I register a trademark or service mark? If you have asked yourself this question, read about the benefits of registration. Basically, you need to both register the mark and continually use it to keep it from going into the public domain and someone else using your property. 

How Do I Search for Existing Trademarks or Service Marks?

 You can search online at the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office website, through TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System). The article explains how the process works. 

What Information is Needed for a Trademark Registration?

In addition to usual types of information about your company and its legal structure, your trademark/service mark application must include specific information in a specific format about the trademark or service mark you wish to register. Also, the trademark must be in use before you can file an application. 

How Do I Register a Trademark or Service Mark?

Here are the steps in the process of registering a trademark or service mark. You can complete the registration process online using TEAS (the trademark electronic application system).  More

What Does it Cost to Register a Trademark or Service Mark Online?

 As of January, 2015, the USPTO has reduced fees for online trademark filing, and has added a new TEAS PLUS online application process. Learn about the details of the online application process for trademarks and service marks. 

Do I Need an Attorney to Register a Trademark?

Can you register your trademark yourself? Sure. But, here are some reasons you should consider getting an attorney who specializes in intellectual property to help you with your trademark/service mark registration.

How Do I Register a Trademark/Service Mark Internationally?

If you do business primarily in the U.S., you probably don't need to register your trademark or service mark internationally.  But if you do business with other countries on a regular basis, you should consider an international trademark registration, using the Madrid systerm.  One  application form will allow you to register with all other countries that abide by this system.  More