An Easy Guide To Understanding What Trademark Signs Mean

  • March 19, 2024
  • 6 min read
An Easy Guide To Understanding What Trademark Signs Mean

It is important that you understand what trademark signs are, as well as some of the common uses for these trademark indications because the last thing that you want to do is infringe on someone else’s symbol, which can end up being a costly court battle. To avoid this you need to be able to recognize the signs used in a variety of different situations. This guide will help you understand what kind of signs are trademarks and what they mean for your business. You’ll learn whether a sign is federally registered or not, and the difference between trademarks and copyrights.

What is a Trademark?

Sometimes the word or symbol associated with a person or business is so famous that it has become synonymous with them. It can be a word, phrase, logo, or symbol used by a business to identify itself and its goods from other businesses. Just like copyright protects written material such as books and research papers, trademarks protect symbols that represent companies and their products. The sign is usually used on company products as a way of distinguishing them from competitors.

The two types of trademarks are:

  • Registered

These have been submitted, approved, and registered with the government. It is an actual document submitted to the federal government and approved. It provides the owner with exclusive rights to a sign, although it doesn’t offer any legal protection from possible infringement by another business or individual.

  • Unregistered

These are usually symbols that have been created and used by a specific company and its products/services. It is simply a symbol that isn’t protected federally but can be used as long as no one else uses it in your market area. Although they’re not protected federally, some states may offer legal protection in certain industries such as retail.

Trademark Signs Indicate Ownership of Goods

Just like copyright law protects written material from unauthorized use, trademarks protect signs that represent companies and their products/services. The logo for any product or service is considered a trademark. It shows that the symbol represents a specific business. According to the attorneys at Revision Legal, it’s important for business owners to understand the Circle R meaning and place it near the registered trademark. This can not only help them retain customer loyalty but also assist in infringement litigations. The signs are used to indicate that the goods or services provided under that sign belong to a certain company. However, it’s not as simple as something like printing a “TM” on the products, the owner is required to submit paperwork for approval.

The Five Categories for Trademarking

There are five categories in which you can trademark a sign. The categories depend on what the symbol is, and who will be using it. The main reason for filing within specific categories is to prevent confusion with other signs that might look similar. If your sign looks too much like another business’ sign, then you’re likely to be found to have infringed on that particular trademark.

This is why the categories exist – so that businesses can distinguish their signs from others and avoid lawsuits. The categories are:

  1. Words or Phrases: You need to submit a written description of the words/phrases that make up your mark, along with their intended use, for approval.
  2. Collective Marks: These signs are usually made up of symbols or designs that represent a group and its products/services.
  3. Service Marks: All services, such as those provided by plumbers, optical shops, and other businesses are categorized as service marks. A sign created for these services is usually something like a slogan or phrase that helps customers identify the company and its products/services. The words “low prices” could be used for an online retail store.
  4. Trade Names: This category includes all business names, including trading names. The trade name is usually a short version of the full business name. The symbol for this category can be simply a symbol to represent the company or its brand.
  5. Logos: These are created and used as symbols to represent products/services in commerce. Logos that appear on products or on a company’s advertising materials are categorized in this section.

How to register a trademark with the USPTO

A person or business who owns a mark has to register it in order for legal protection. Registering with the USPTO is a very important step. The Trademark Office will review your application and determine if it can be registered or not. If you look at the logos of major brands, you’ll see that most have registered trademarks. These companies have to prove that their sign is unique and not confusingly similar to any other signs. If there are similarities, they may need a license or permission to use the sign.

To register your trademark, you’ll have to submit the following:

  • A Trademark Notice – The notice is a statement that provides information about the sign. The symbols “TM” or “SM” are used instead of being spelled out.
  • A Drawing – This should be an exact representation of your sign. It doesn’t have to be real, it can also be a design, style, or graphic element representing your brand.
  • Information About The Usage – This includes what type of goods the sign will be used on and who can use it. You’ll also need to list the goods that your sign will represent.
  • Application Fee – To start the registration process, you’ll have to pay an application fee.
  • Maintenance Fee – After the application has been submitted and approved, there is a fee that needs to be paid every year. If you don’t pay the maintenance fee, your trademark will eventually expire and no longer be protected by law. You’ll only have three months of amnesty before it automatically expires.
How to register a trademark with the USPTO

It can be difficult to keep up with the latest trademark signs without a little guidance. One of the main reasons for this is that there are so many different types, each with its own requirements and regulations. This article has provided you with a general overview of what these marks mean, how they’re registered and maintained in accordance with USPTO law, and some tips on which category your business falls under! If you’re still looking for help, you can always use a professional service

About Author

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an expert web content writer and freelancer who is an expert in writing engaging articles in Business, General, Social Media, Tech, and Marketing and many more other categories. He has been serving our website for a few years. Andrew is a family man. When he isn’t writing, he loves to cook for his kids and spend time with them.

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