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IP Basics Part II: What is a Trademark or Servicemark?
August 18, 2021
In our first part of this series, we provided a brief primer on patents. For the second part of our Intellectual Property series, we take a look at trademarks. Trademarks are not generally considered "technology", but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") is charged with administering them along with patents. Certainly, technology startups must be aware of both of these types of Intellectual Property. The PTO provides a webpage with general information for the public.

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods, i.e., the sale of tangible products, to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A servicemark identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms “trademark” and “mark” are commonly used in a generic sense to refer to both trademarks and servicemarks.

Trademark registrations may be used to prevent others from infringing by using a confusingly similar mark. In contrast with patents, trademarks do not prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. Trademarks that are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the USPTO. The registration procedure for trademarks and general information concerning trademarks can be found here.

If you have any questions about trademarks, servicemarks or any other intellectual property issue, please contact us.

Intellectual Property William P. Smith