What is a Trademark?

A trade mark is therefore a ‘badge’ of trade origin. It is used as a marketing tool so that customers can recognize the product of a particular trader. A ‘sign’ includes words, logos, colours, slogans, three-dimensional shapes and sometimes even sounds and gestures.

Trade Mark and Service Mark Logos

The original creator is the trade mark owner and may also own copyright and design rights in products and packaging.

A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or design, 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 products name can always be trademarked if the name does not infringe another name.

What is a Service Mark

A service mark is any word, name, symbol, design, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from the services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.


Business names can be trademarked if the business provides a service, such as marketing, legal, accounting, etc. Business names, such as IBM, HP, Coca Cola may be trademarked, but only if there are goods or services with that name.

  • IBM is a registered trademark because it is the name of a company and provides a service
  • Coca Cola is  a company name and provides a product.

The U.S. Trademark Office is very sticky about the difference between business names and product names. They have specific rules.

Business directories are a good place to check for names that are already in use, thereby avoiding infringement. Also consider checking with the Secretary of State in your state, local county clerk’s office for DBA filing, and the United States Patent and Trademark office (online).


All Mark – Establishes Trademarks for a Fee

Trade Markia -Registers Trademarks for a Fee

Trademark: How to Name your Business & Product – Book by Kate McGrath

ThomasNet.com – Search ThomasNet to find manufacturers, distributors and service providers that my conflict with your choices

United States Patent and Trademark Office -Online Trademark Database

Service Mark -Legal Definition

What is a service mark?