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Comparatively Speaking: Copyright vs. Trademark
By: Anthony J. O'Lenick Jr., Siltech LLC
Posted: November 29, 2011
page 2 of 2
Trademarks in the United States have an original term of six years and can be renewed for up to 20 years from the date of issue, by filing the appropriate forms and paying the appropriate fees. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.
A trade name is not the same as a trademark. A trade name is a name owners use to identify their businesses while a trademark is used to identify a good or service a business provides. Another distinct difference is that "trade names" are not registered at the state or federal level. A trademark needs not be registered to establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. Use is what establishes the rights. However, owning a federal trademark registration establishes constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark; establishes a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration; and establishes the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court.