United States Trademark Information

A trademark identifies and distinguishes the source of a person’s or a company’s products from those of another entity. A trademark can include any word, name, symbol (such as a logo), device, sound, color, form or pattern, or any combination thereof, used, or intended to be used, in commerce in the United States.

A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination thereof, used, or intended to be used, in commerce in the United States, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services. A service mark is similar to a trademark except that the source is a service rather than a product.

United States trademark law accords the holder of a United States trademark various rights including:

  • The possibility of obtaining lost profits, damages and costs, as well as triple damages in certain cases, if an infringement is proven to exist;
  • The possibility of recovering attorney fees for infringement proceedings from the infringing party;
  • The possibility of declaring a trademark to be “incontestable” after five consecutive years of continuous use following registration of the trademark. Incontestability eliminates most third party arguments that a trademark owner does not have the exclusive rights to use the trademark;
  • The right to use the "®" symbol in connection with the trademark. The "®" symbol is intended to deter potential infringers;
  • Simplified trademark search abilities for third parties. The searching facilitation would discourage good-faith third parties from attempting to register or using a similarly confusing trademark;
  • The right to sue for trademark infringement before a United States Federal Court; and
  • The possibility having the United States Customs & Border Protection (the CBP) block the importation of goods which infringe a registered trademark and to register the mark with the CBP.