What is a Trademark?

A trademark is either a word, or groups of words, a phrase, a symbol or design, a logo or combination thereof which identifies the source of goods or services to be rendered. Normally a trademark for goods appears on the product and/or packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the service. All registered marks are valid throughout the United States and can last indefinitely as long as the owner continues to renew the mark and use the mark in interstate commerce.

Specifically, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.