Trade Mark or Service Mark: Simple differences

Simple differences: trademark or servicemark

Are you contemplating protecting your chosen business name?

As a serious owner of a new or old pet sitting company you want to protect your name and hard work.

So let’s explore if you should file a Trade Mark or Service Mark.

Trade Marks

Registering a trademark for your business to protect its name is pretty straightforward. You can file an application online without the help of a lawyer and it usually takes as little as 60-90 minutes depending on how much information you have and well your records are kept. As you begin the process there are some things you need to keep in mind.

·        The quickest and easiest way to register is on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Web site:

·         Before you carry out the online registration and fill out all the forms, it is a good idea to check the site’s Trademark Electronic Search System (“TESS”) database. This will allow you to look at all domain names already claimed and helps you make sure another company does not already have the same or similar domain name within the same market or service area that you are working in.

·        Online trademark registration costs vary but you can expect to pay between $200 and $300. There is a good deal of information that is required such as the categories of goods and services, products that will carry the trademark or name, date of the name was first use in commerce, and whether there’s a design component or if you are just registering a name with no logo or branding.

·        Avoid registering your .com, .net, or .gov extension. Getting a trademark without the domain extension helps protect you further. If you include the extension than someone else can take your exact same name and simply add a new ending- you could end up with and, which can be confusing for your customers and can steal business from you.


Service Marks

The world of legal jargon can be a difficult one to navigate, especially if you are not on the up and up with the latest laws and regulations. Therefore, you may or may not be aware of something known as service marks. Most people know what trademarks are, and maybe you have a business where you have your own registered trademarks. However, it can be useful to understand this other side of registered marks.

There are many different instances where a service mark is used. You may see these every day and never even realize what you are looking at, or you may have looked at them as trademarked items.

·        Plumbers may include a logo on their truck or van that identifies their company.

·        A landscaper can design a logo for their trucks and signs to go in people’s yard or on their business cards.

·        Airlines have logos they put on their planes and many have a certain ‘ring tone’ that precede all announcements and commercials for that airline.

·        Lawyers may have a special logo or emblem for their office that appears on business cards and billboards.

·        Schools have mascots that represent the school and its services.

·        Travel agents have special designs that adorn cards, flyers, signs, and advertisements.

·        These are all examples of service marks because you cannot put a logo on a plant or on a repaired faucet, so the company has a service mark top identify themselves and their work.

A sound service mark is a legal term used to help identify and distinguish a product or service. The difference here is that this is done through audio rather than visual means. Examples of sound marks are common in electronics.

·        The familiar tone of a Sprint or ATT phone when it turns on is a sound mark.

·        The familiar notes of Skype turning on represent that company’s mark.

·         The chimes of NBC’s station lets you know who has sponsored the show you are watching and what channel it is on.

·        These are all examples of sound service marks that apply to companies that offer a service where no tangible logo or emblem can be applied.

·        You cannot put a logo on a TV station, computer software, or a phone service contract, so sound marks are used.

We hear slogans and jingles everyday thanks to TV, radio, and the internet. Slogans that are protected are ones that have come to be used exclusively by one company.

·        “Where’s the Beef?” or “What’s in Your Wallet?” are examples of this type of service mark,

·         To qualify as a mark, these jingles and slogans must be either inherently unique to the product or have been used for so long that the parent company is what people think of when they hear the phrase.

·        Everyone knows the “I’m lovin it” line and immediately think of McDonald’s or see the Golden Arches.

·        For these companies, those jingles are a service mark and legally belong to them.


Now that you know the simple differences of trade marks, service marks, what they are, what they are used for, you can learn more by checking out these helpful sites.

Trade and Service Marks

US Trade Marks and Service Marks

Register your Trade or Service Mark

A pet sitting company name and or logo is a service mark.  Is yours worth protecting?

Read more essential step for business success:


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About Debbie June Rickman Laughlin

Wrote 101-A: Pet Sitting Business "Work Book To Conquer Success", to help others in the industry, Founder/ CEO of House Calls Pet Sitting and Home Care Services. Established 1981 and still going strong, To relax I do Photography and Painting. View, and Purchase my art at:

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