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Service Marks

service marksA service mark is any word, symbol or device, or any combination thereof, someone is using (or intends to use in the future) in commerce that identifies and distinguishes the services of one from another and identifies the source of those services to the consumer.   The definition of a service mark resembles that of a trademark, but service marks are applicable where services are provided and trademarks apply to goods.  Therefore, a mark owner may obtain a service mark when they have a valid mark (i.e. not deceptive, distinctive, non-confusing, etc.) representing the services they provide.  A service must be a real activity performed primarily for the benefit of another and the activity must be qualitatively different from any of the applicant’s other goods or services.  The definition of service may evolve over time as it depends on the commercial context; for example, grocery or department stores were not considered a service and now gathering various goods and making a place available to purchase these goods is considered a service.


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