What is the difference between a trademark and a service mark?

Photo of Tomas Orsula

Written by Tomas Orsula

Senior Trademark Attorney

A trademark (™) and a service mark (℠) are both forms of marks used to label a particular intellectual property. The only difference is that a service mark is used in connection with services rather then physical goods. You can find it more commonly used in the US. In most other countries, the term "trademark" describes any type of sign capable of distinguishing the source of both goods and services.

There are no legal guidelines restricting the usage of these marks. Usually, the symbols are used to signal a brand is currently in the process of trademark registration. This is an official process where a trademark is approved and recorded by the intellectual property office of the given country. After the completion of this process, the ™/℠ symbol can be exchanged for the registered trademark symbol ®.

You can read about more reasons for registering a trademark in this article.

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