Service Marks Are Subject to Same Laws as Trademarks

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Byline: The Register-Guard

Question: If I register a logo as a service mark, is it effective nationally? How much would it cost? Is it for all states? How often does it have to be renewed? Is it easy to do or do you need an attorney?

Answer: A publication titled "Protecting Your Creations" is an excellent source of information. It was co-authored in 2007 by Don Flickinger, an intellectual property counselor with the Phoenix SCORE chapter and Michael Goltry, a patent attorney in the firm of Parsons & Goltry. ? For a copy of this publication please contact; bobpiososcore@comcast.net. This column will use some excerpts from their publication to answer your question.

First of all, you should understand that a service mark or logo is the same as a trademark, except it identifies and distinguishes a service (intangible activities) rather than a product. The terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks. The trademark laws of the United States provide protection for both trademarks and service marks, which are considered intellectual property.

Trademarks and service marks are subject to the laws, rules and regulations set forth in Title 15 United States Code and in Title 37 Code of Federal Regulations Chapter I.

Answers to your questions can be found on the Web at www.uspto?.gov. When the page opens click on Trademarks. When the page appears, click on "Main" near the top of the left column to display the home page of the Trademark Office.

First, it is necessary to determine the class in which the goods or services belong. In the right column, near the bottom, click on FAQs - questions and answers.

When the page appears, scroll down to, "What are the different classes of goods and services" under the heading "Application Process." Each class of goods and services will be listed with an international class number, or "IC." Only the owner of a mark can file an application for registration.

Generally, the person who uses or controls the use of the mark - and the goods to which it is attached, or the services for which it is used - is the owner of the mark. The mark could have been created by another person and assigned to the owner for registration. Scent, color and sound can be registered as a mark, but they require substantial evidence. Therefore, the services of a trademark attorney are strongly urged.

Your first step in the registration process is to conduct a search of registered marks prior to adopting and using a mark. A free search can be conducted at the Trademark Office Web site. It is also important that you review examples of marks which can be registered and marks which cannot be registered. …