A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Think brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks. Registering a trademark has several advantages. It acts as a notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership to the mark and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set term of years. Trademarks can last forever, so long as the owner continues to use the mark in commerce to indicate the source of goods and services.
Aligning trademark strategy with your business strategy is almost always more difficult than it seems. Consult with an attorney early in the process to identify potentially competing marks, discuss registration classes, and assess the need for international mark protection. Furthermore, the availability and registration of domain names, the recent availability of generic top-level domains, and the resolution of cybersquatting disputes are all areas in which we may be able assist you in making more informed business decisions.