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Basic Facts

Get the Basic Facts About Trademarks – USPTO

Get the Basic Facts About Trademarks

What you need to know directly from the USPTO.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a fee-funded agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The role of the USPTO is to grant patents for the protection of inventions and to register trademarks and service marks for products and services, respectively. It serves the interests of small and large businesses as well as consumers, and helps strengthen the economy by promoting the industrial and technological progress of the nation.

The Commissioner for Trademarks heads the trademark organization and ensures that the USPTO properly examines trademark applications and grants registrations when applicants are entitled to them; records ownership changes of trademarks; maintains search files and records of U.S. trademarks; and publishes and disseminates information such as the Basic Facts handbook.

Basic Facts: What is a trademark or service mark? 

A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. 

A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Throughout this booklet, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks. 

Basic Facts: Do trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect the same things?

No. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product. 

USPTO "BASIC FACTS ABOUT TRADEMARKS" Booklet Now

United States Patent and Trademark Office


Select Trademark and Trade Dress Case Client Categories

  • Advertising Services
  • Airlines
  • Apparel
  • Bags
  • Bars
  • Beverage
  • Cannabis Company
  • E-commerce Travel Websites
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance Company
  • Farm Equipment
  • Food
  • Health & Beauty Aids
  • Home Entertainment Company
  • Home Improvement Products
  • HVAC Company
  • Jeans
  • Marriage Ministries
  • Restaurants
  • Retailers
  • Small Appliances
  • Swimming Pool Company
  • Technology
  • Tools
  • Toys
  • Utility Company
  • Vaping Manufacturer
  • Vaping Retailer
Professional Memberships

Trademark Infringement | Trade Dress Infringement | Misleading Advertising | Licensing | Defamation | Commercial Reasonableness | Likelihood of Confusion | Secondary Meaning | Genericness | IP Infringement | Consumer Surveys