By using a name, any name, for your company, product or services, you implicitly earn some common law rights in that name, even if you don’t make any claims. If this company or product, is actually a service, you can use the SM symbol rather than the TM symbol, simply to emphasize that you are offering a service.

In particular, you use the SM designation when you can only illustrate the mark with literature or stationery or signage about the service. There is no specific product that you can attach the mark to. All rights are exactly the same as TM. In fact, you can use TM for services too if you prefer, especially if you are not sure if one day you might have products in that mark family.

NOTE: If you make such claims without doing a due diligent search on other companies or services in a similar field to you, then you might be unwittingly infringing on someone else’s servicemark. If they were there first, and in particular if they have a registered trademark or have made SM claims, then they might be sending you a “cease and desist” letter.

The best protection of all, and the one that you should be aspiring too for all the major marks in your company, is known as a Registered Trademark.

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Disclaimer: Brighter Naming is not licensed to provide legal advice. The information here is provided as an overview service only.

Naming Articles

New brand insider articles from an experienced marketing team. Learn all the basics of naming, branding and trademark registration from these free reports:

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July 2016: How to get International Trademark protection.

March 2016: You received a cease and desist letter. Now what?

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