What is a Trademark?
A trademark or service mark is symbol of some kind that identifies and distinguishes the source of products or services of one party from those of others.
The term “trademark” generally refers to both trademarks and service marks. Typically, a trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or design, but trademarks can also take other forms, like the color pink for fiberglass insulation and NBC’s three-tone sequence.
Rights in a trademark are acquired by using the trademark. As soon as you start using a trademark to identify a product, you have rights in that trademark for that product. You can use TM or SM on a trademark to provide notice that you are claiming rights in the trademark for the products or services.
A trademark can be registered with a state through the state’s corporations agency and it can be registered federally through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A state registration provides basic protection in the state of registration, whereas a federal registration provides much more extensive protection. A federal registration provides benefits that include public notice of your claim of ownership of the trademark, the right to use the federal registration symbol ®, and the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide with the products/services listed in the registration.
International Trademark Registrations
A United States trademark registration only protects your trademark within the U.S. and its territories. If you are interested in trademark protection in other countries, you will need to either apply for an international registration designating the member countries and regional groups where you want protection, or file separate trademark applications in those countries or regional groups where you want protection. In order to file a trademark application in a particular country, you need to use an attorney in that country. From our more than 50 years of existence, we have formed working relationships with trademark law firms around the world.
Protecting Your Trademarks and Service Marks
If you have a trademark that you want to protect, you want the help of an experience trademark attorney. As a firm focused on intellectual property law, we can help you determine your best course of action and whether or not your mark meets the criteria for registration. If it does, trust the trademark attorneys from Altman & Martin in Boston, Massachusetts, to take you through the complicated trademark registration process.