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The protections of trademarks and service marks

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2024 | intellectual property law

In the world of business, trademarks and service marks are key tools companies use to protect their brands and ensure consumers can distinguish their products and services from those of competitors.

While they serve similar purposes, they apply to different aspects of a business. Understanding the protection each offers is necessary for anyone involved in the business sector.

Understanding trademarks and service marks

A trademark is a phrase, symbol or word legally established or registered to represent a product or company. It protects items that a company sells, such as a logo on a pair of sneakers.

On the other hand, a service mark relates to services offered by a company instead of goods. For example, a cleaning company might use a service mark to distinguish its cleaning services from others in the same market.

Protections offered

Trademarks and service marks receive protection under the law to prevent other businesses from using similar signs that could confuse consumers. This protection ensures that consumers can reliably associate a certain quality and origin with a mark, whether it relates to a product or service.

The process of registering both trademarks and service marks is similar, and both types of marks offer their holders the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the goods or services they cover. This exclusivity is significant in maintaining brand identity and value.

Enforcement and rights

Holders of trademarks and service marks have the right to enforce their marks against others who might try to use similar marks in a way that could confuse the public. This enforcement protects the value and reputation associated with the mark.

If a business discovers another entity using a similar mark in a way that causes confusion among consumers, the holder can take steps to stop this use. The goal is to prevent any dilution of the brand and maintain consumer trust.

Despite covering different aspects of a business, trademarks and service marks offer the same level of protection under the law. These protections help businesses effectively manage their brands and maintain their reputation among consumers.