Trademarks are a form of intellectual property that protects recognizable signs, designs, and expressions. In order to federally register a trademark, you must fill out and submit an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Before filing your application, you should consider the kinds of protection that are available for your mark. This will help you decide which category is best for your brand.
A product mark is a word, design or symbol that is used by a company to identify and protect their products. It can be a logo, slogan, band or brand name and can also refer to the quality, origin or source of the product or service.
Trademarks are important because they help consumers identify the manufacturer of a product, and can distinguish it from similar products. They are often printed on product packaging, labels or directly onto the product itself.
A company that has built up a reputation for its product or service can be granted extensive exclusive rights to its mark, which means other companies cannot use that trademark without the holder’s permission. This can give the holder an incentive to make sure that consumers are satisfied and return to buy more of their products.
Service marks are used to differentiate the services of one business or organization from those offered by others. They are usually used for services that are not products, such as cleaning services or airline flights.
A service mark is a legal form of intellectual property that protects words, designs, and other visual elements that identify a business or organization’s goods or services. It provides protection for both businesses and consumers alike.
Unlike trademarks, which help distinguish a product within the legal and business systems, service marks have a more direct connection to consumers. They are used in advertising and marketing materials, in point-of-sale displays, and in the internet to promote and advertise a business’s goods and services.
Registration of a service mark gives owners the legal right to sue for infringement. This can help prevent unauthorized use of the mark by competitors. Routine market surveillance can also help owners identify infringing uses and take action.
A logo mark is a graphic symbol that depicts a brand. It can be a drawing, a picture, a shape, an object or any form of art that does not include text.
Often, businesses that have a simple brand identity choose to use this kind of mark to promote their identity. This includes companies that offer consulting, law, financial services or heritage brands.
It can also be used by startups that want to attract customers. WhatsApp, for example, uses a logomark to represent its brand and services.
These kinds of marks can also be hybrids, which are a mixture of a text and a symbol or image. They are usually tall, meaning the text and symbol are arranged vertically above or below each other.
A combination mark is the merging of a wordmark with a symbol or pictorial element. It can be stacked on top of the logotype (as seen in this example from Nike) or side by side (as in this KFC example).
Combination marks are often used by large, well-known companies who want to establish their brand identity with an all-inclusive image. They also work great for new brands that have not established their brand name yet, since they can help build visual recognition and awareness quickly.
The logo icon and text can be positioned side-by-side or stacked, with the text usually placed on the left of the design. This helps ensure the icon is always visible when people see the logo on a piece of media like a social media profile picture.