A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination,
used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods
of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to
indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.
A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any
combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and
distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and
to indicate the source of the services.
You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. However,
owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides
several advantages, e.g.,
constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the
a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the
registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection
with the goods and/or services listed in the registration;
the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
the use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign
the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to
prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.
Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM"
(service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of
whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the
federal registration symbol "®" only after the USPTO actually
registers a mark, and not while an application is pending. Also, you
may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the
goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.
Matthew G. McKinney, Attorney
121 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1500
Orlando, FL 32801