What is the difference between a trademark and servicemark? The word "trademark" is used in two senses: First, to define the legal concept that protects visual representations, and as a broad term that encompasses both trademarks and servicemarks. In fact, Federal law specifically references trademarks, and makes little mention of servicemarks, however, those laws concerning trademarks apply equally to servicemarks. In the case of a servicemark, it best to think of it as a type of trademark.
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, graphic symbol, or other device used to identify a good or product so that it may be distinguished from competing goods and services. A servicemark is used to identify a mark that markets, sells and distributes services.
When an application for registration is pending before the United States Trademark and Patent Office, you may use the ™ or TM symbol to declare that you have filed for registration of the trademark. When an application for registration is pending before the USTPO, you may use the ℠ or SM symbol to denote that you have applied to register your servicemark. Upon approval of your application and registration of your trademark or servicemark, you may use the ® symbol to declare to the worlds that you own a valid registered trademark.
If you have questions about when to use a trademark or servicemark, or combination of both, to identify your business, products, or services, you should contact an intellectual property attorney to determine the best strategy to protect your business assets.