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What Is a Trademark or a Service Mark?

A trademark, another common type of IP, distinguishes the source of goods or services. Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A trademark can be anything that differentiates a particular company from its competitors, including:

  • A logo

  • A slogan

  • A sound

  • A color

Trademarks may overlap with copyright; for instance, a logo may be copyrightable as an artistic creation and also registered as a trademark. However, a trademark may protect words, designs, and other elements that are not considered copyrightable. Like copyrights, trademarks may be protected under common law and the Lanham Act even if they are not registered.