Different Types of Trademarks
Federal trademarks are filed with the USPTO and provide protection in all 50 states. To file for a federal trademark application the owner must be currently using or intending to use the mark in commerce across state lines.
State trademarks are typically filed with the state’s Secretary of State Office and provide for trademark protection within the state. Common Law trademark rights are obtained through use of the mark and are not governed by federal or state statute based on filing a trademark application, instead common law trademark rights developed under court created rights governed by state law.
Since common law trademark rights are obtained through use their scope is limited to the geographic area in which the mark is actually used or in areas it may naturally expand.
If you wish to file a US trademark application please call trademark attorney Mat Grell for a Free consultation at 770-709-6888.
Define the different types of Trademarks
What is a Trademark? A trademark™ is a form of protection used to brand or promote a product being offered in the market place in the form of a word, name, phrase, tag-line (Standard Text Characters) or symbol, graphic, color (Stylized and/or Design) or a combination of both used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the products/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the products/services.
In addition, other trademark categories, such as those based on color, smell, sound, patterns or any distinguishing attribute by which an individual is readily identified, such as the well-known characteristics of celebrities may be protected. Note, the essential function of a trademark is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services identified by the mark.
What is a Service Mark? A service mark (SM) is a mark similar to a trademark, except it a form of protection used to brand or promote a service being offered in the market place. The terms “trademark” and “mark” often are used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.
What is a Trade Name? A trade name or a business name is the name a business uses for commercial purposes. (The legal name is the name registered with the state secretary of state office, such as ____ Inc., LLC or Partnership or the name used for contracts.)
What is Doing Business As? DBA (doing business as) is a name of a business or operation other than the owner or proprietor’s name, or legal name such as Inc., LLC or Partnership of the business. Most jurisdictions require businesses operating with fictitious names to file a DBA statement for consumer protection purposes with the county and/or state.
When should you use ® vs. TM/SM? Any time you claim rights in a mark that identifies a product or service, you may immediately use the “TM” (trademark on goods) or “SM” (service mark for services) designation to alert the public to your claim, whether you have filed a trademark application with the US Trademark Office or not.
® may only be used after registering with the US Trademark Office.
You may only use the federal registration symbol “®” after the federal US Trademark Office actually issues a registration for your mark, and not during a pending trademark application or after your registration has expired.
By Mat Grell, Trademark Attorney
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