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Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property: Trademarks

Trademark IP Overview

Intellectual property 

What is a trademark? What is a service mark?

  • trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols, or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. [For more information see: Trademark from Cornell University Law School.]

  • service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

  • Normally a mark for goods appears on the product or its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.
  • A trademark is different from a patent or copyright. A patent protects an invention. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. 
  • Federal trademarks, issued by the USPTO, are valid in all 50 states. In addition, each state issues its own trademarks.
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provides extensive trademark information: Trademark Basics

Trademark Databases 

United States Patent and Trademark Office 

World Intellectual Property Organization

  • IP laws and treaties (WIPO Lex) The WIPO Lex database is a comprehensive search tool that allows you to search international treaties and national laws on intellectual property.
  • Global Brand Database – allows you to perform a trademark search by text or image brand from various international sources it includes trademarks, appellations of origins and official emblems.
  • Nice Classification System – is an international classification of goods and services used for the registration of marks. It was established by treaty in 1957.

State Trademark Information

Trademark Searching Tips

Trademark Guidance

Information for Historical Investigation

RUSS's Guide to the Gazettes at Hathi Trust - use this to help make sense of these next two entries.

Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office - In this period, trademark records were in the same volumes as patent records - these volumes are thanks to the Hathi Trust.

Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office. Trademarks. and  Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Trademarks.  Later, trademark records were published in a separate series from patent records.  Again, these volumes are thanks to the Hathi Trust.

Books and Journals Articles