IP Essentials: Q&A Series

Q What is the difference between “®” and “™”? A In the United States, trademark rights are created through use of the mark. Registered trademarks use the familiar symbol “®” and adopted, but unregistered marks use the symbol “™” to notify the public. In text, trademarks should always be used as they are registered. Word marks must always be used as adjectives, never as nouns or verbs, and never in the possessive. A word mark should stand out from the text and not be coupled with the manufacturer’s name. Q What are service/certification marks? A A service mark identifies a service, such as accounting, engineering, education, consulting, retail/wholesale store services, and others. A certification mark is a trademark that is owned by a certifying organization that uses the mark to certify that goods meet pre-defined criteria, typically regarding quality, such as “Florida Oranges” or “Energy Star.” Q What is trademark strength? A The nature of a mark, particularly its relative strength or weakness, will have a direct bearing on its performance in the market and the scope of legal protection to which the mark is entitled. In general, the stronger a mark is, the easier it is for the mark to be registered and protected from unauthorized use by others.

A trademark is a source identifier that can be a word, name, symbol, design, combination of a word or design, a slogan, a catch phrase, or even a distinctive sound, color, or fragrance . It identifies and distinguishes the goods and ser- vices of one manufacturer from those of another. TRADEMARKS



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