First of all what IS a "service mark?" Well, a trademark applies to goods or products (such as a car or a washing machine) while a service mark refers to services (like coaching, transportation and storage, or legal work).
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Have You Registered Your Service Mark?

First of all what IS a "service mark?" Well, a trademark applies to goods or products (such as a car or a washing machine) while a service mark refers to services (like coaching, transportation and storage, or legal work).

According to Smith & Hopen, Intellectual Property Lawyers, "A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device or combination, used ... to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services."

The law treats a service mark similarly to a trademark. An example of a service mark is Prudential Insurance Co.'s "Rock of Gibraltar."

Now Have You Registered It?

The most amazing thing is that according to law, the exclusive rights to use service marks (common law service mark) are created and exist as a result of USING the mark on services, not by REGISTERING the mark. (Source: Schwartz, Manes & Ruby (www.smrfirm.com/about.htm).

If you wish to file it with the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, the application fee is $245 per mark-per class, but the other costs and attorney fees can run you $1500-$2000 if all goes well, and chances are it won't.

Whatever you do, keep using it. "No one ever owns a mark," say Schwartz at al. If a mark is ever abandoned, so is the exclusive right to use the mark. I'm sure there's a legal definition for "abandoned."

The Benefits of Federal Registration

* Provides nationwide notice of exclusive ownership which prevents others from acquiring common low rights through innocent adoption and use.

* Creates legal presumption in court of your right to exclusive use.

* Opportunity to make it unchallengeable by keeping it in use for five years from date of registration.

To learn more about this process, you can go here: www.nameprotect.com.


(c)Susan Dunn, www.webstrategies.cc, marketing for coaches and entrepreneurs. Web strategies, web design, market research, article-writing service, consultation, implementation. When you're serious about your practice, call 210-496-0678. For legal advice, consult an attorney.

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