23 Jun 2015

DEFINITION of ‘Service Mark’
A brand name or logo that identifies the provider of a service. A service mark may consist of a word, phrase, symbol, design or some combination of these elements. A form of intellectual property protection, the mark prevents competing businesses from using names and insignias that could potentially confuse consumers.

Whereas trademarks identify the source of goods, a service mark designates the provider of a service. Despite the distinction, the term “trademark” is commonly used to describe both forms of intellectual property.

A “service” is something intangible provided for the benefit of another party. For instance, a major carpet cleaning company would likely use a service mark in its marketing efforts because it performs an activity rather than offering a physical product.

While registering a name or logo with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks isn’t expressly required, there are some advantages to doing so. It sends a clear signal to competitors that the registrant enjoys ownership of the mark and provides a “legal presumption of ownership” in all 50 states.

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