- Blue Belt
- Posts: 431
- Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:23 pm
- Location: Tempe, AZ
A trademark is any word, phrase, or design, or less commonly an alternate "device" such as a sound or scent, used to describe a commercially sold product for the purpose of distinctively identifying it to relevant consumers. A servicemark is the same thing as a trademark except that it is used to describe a commercially available service instead of a tangible product.
On occasion, you may also hear the phrase “descriptive mark.” A descriptive mark describes the type of product or service it refers to, and not merely the company or brand offering the product or service. Descriptive marks are generally considered weaker than non-descriptive marks, and can be tougher to register. But that hasn’t stopped some from achieving meaningful trademark protection for their descriptive marks (i.e. Holiday Inn, Jiffy Lube, etc.).
Trademark rights are established by use - not by federal registration. Filing for federal registration, however, provides several main advantages, including: your trademarks become easier to enforce in the event of litigation; it becomes easier to expand the geographic scope of your trademark protection; and you may be able to establish priority dates, both in the U.S. and abroad, before a product is ready to be sold commercially.